Nigeria’s prolonged fuel scarcity has continued to defy measures announced by the Federal Government to curtail it.
Despite the long fuel queues and the skyrocketing prices of food commodities occasioned by scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as fuel in the country, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Mele Kyari, insists there are no challenges with supply and that the country had sufficient products in its reserves.
In many states across the country, Nigerians have continued to groan over the scarcity of the products and oil marketers have unilaterally increased the price of fuel, causing the commodity to now sell for prices ranging from N195 per litre to N450 per litre in Lagos, Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and other cities in Nigeria, against the official N165 per litre.
The combined effect of shortage in fuel supply and differentiating prices is felt in nearly all sectors of the economy as businesses are crippled and more Nigerian families are finding it increasingly difficult to afford basic necessities.
Nigeria’s prolonged fuel scarcity has continued to defy measures announced by the Federal Government to curtail it and the Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Asiwaju Tinubu has alleged that the fuel scarcity was designed by some saboteurs to scuttle his chances of becoming President.
“They have been scheming to create fuel crisis, but forget about it. Relax, I Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed.
“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel…They are plotting, but they will fail. They said fuel price will increase and reach N200 per litre…They don’t want this election to hold, they want to scuttle it,” Tinubu said without mentioning names.
However, Special Assistant to the President on Digital Communications Bashir Ahmad, said in a tweet that Tinubu’s blame was targeted at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Our Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu today in Makurdi, Benue State, accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of sabotaging fuel supply in the country to blackmail the Federal Government for illicit political advantage,” Ahmad said.
Speaking earlier at the 13th Global UAE Forum on Year Ahead Energy Outlook 2023 held on January 11, Kyari said the NNPCL had the sufficient cash flow to support its function and was delivering fuel products to the country without any challenge.
“Our relationship with the Government today in terms of fuel supply is commercial. There is a service level agreement between us to supply fuel and sell at the price that the policy decision of Government stipulates. It is not a problem for us as a corporate entity.
“We’re delivering products to the country. We have the sufficient cash flow to support this and there’s a relationship between us and Government. We don’t see any challenge delivering products into our country,” the CEO stated.
Yet the reality of the situation is a sharp contrast of the Government’s position and some Nigerians who spoke to TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) expressed their disappointment and frustration at the state of affairs.
“How is it that under the watch of this government, every filling station in Nigeria has chosen to sell at their own price? Do we even still have regulatory bodies? What is the official price now? This is a total shame,” said a 300-level student Anita Bolaji.
Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has attributed the lingering fuel scarcity in the country to the high costs of vessels and inadequate trucks to deliver petroleum products from depots to filling stations across the country.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have also said the situation would not abate any time soon and advised the Federal Government to revive the country’s refineries and encourage local production as a lasting solution.
Other stakeholders have called for the removal of fuel subsidy and deregulation of the sector and the Federal Government has said it would phase out fuel subsidy by June, as it was no longer sustainable.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has asked relevant security agencies to unravel oil marketers responsible for the recent fuel scarcity and President Muhammadu Buhari announced on Tuesday that he would chair a 14-member steering committee constituted to address the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
“The federal government will not allow misguided elements to bring untold hardship upon the citizenry and attempt to discredit the government’s efforts in consolidating the gains made thus far in the oil and gas sector of the economy,” the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva, who is the acting alternate chairman of the committee said.