Fuel scarcity looms across Nigeria as Abuja groans
• Marketers insist ex-depot price no longer sustainable
• Don’t push citizens to the wall, Gani Adams caution govt
Scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) worsened in Abuja, yesterday, amid signs the trend could spread across the country.
Motorists spent hours of their productive day on queues, as haulage companies and marketers raised concerns over changes in retail price.
The development was further fueled by the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), especially the inability of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority to resolve the bridge of fuel transportation.
Most fuel stations belonging to Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), including Total, Mobil, Eternal and others, were shut while a handful that sold the product dispensed from few pumps.
The issue, which affected both city centres and suburbs, might soon cripple economic activities across the country, particularly the northern region, which requires more transportation subsidies.
A meeting between marketers and the government, last week Thursday, did not produce significant results, Vice President of IPMAN, Abubakar Shettima, told The Guardian.
He disclosed that independent depot owners now sell the product at a wholesale price of N158, insisting the rate is unsustainable if marketers must sell at the pump of N165 per litre.
He said though the Federal Government, last week, engaged marketers, assuring that the bottleneck overpayment of transportation bridging would be addressed, nothing different has happened.
Despite the worsening situation, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had said there was no reason for the general public to engage in panic buying.
The corporation said it had over 1.7 billion litres of petrol in stock and that more are expected to arrive in the country daily over the coming weeks and months.
Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad had said: “It is unnecessary to entertain any fear of scarcity of petrol throughout the festive season and beyond. The NNPC is also not aware of any plan by the government to increase the pump price of petroleum. The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) made that declaration last week.”
However, black marketers have since returned to the nation’s capital, with a litre selling for about N400.
Tochukwu Madu, an e-hailing driver, said the situation has become unbearable. He said he spent over two hours before getting the product, adding that government might need to free the market since there are concerns that the price is unsustainable.
Government had in 2020 removed fuel subsidy and liberalised the downstream segment of the petroleum industry. But it backpedalled earlier this year.
Also, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, decried the 54 per cent hike in the cost of electricity meters, and rise in the cost of gas, saying the development is capable of pushing Nigerians to the wall.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had, last week, announced a 32.8 per cent and 21.7 per cent increase in the cost of electricity meters.
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, said: “The sudden increase can only worsen the current situation in the country. It is unfortunate that Nigerians are being ripped off in such a cruel manner, especially by a government that prides itself as the government of the people. How can you explain a 54 per cent increase in electricity meter price without considering the huge effect on the people? That is very bad.”