Commuters in Lagos had another hectic experience Tuesday, going to work as there were fewer vehicles on the roads to lift them to their offices due to the prevailing petroleum products shortages in parts of the metropolis.
Daily Sun checks yesterday showed only few retail out- lets dispensed fuel with long queues of customers waiting to buy from stations.
The development however resulted in passengers waiting longer at bus stations as most of the vehicles queued at the service stations waiting to buy fuel. It also forced some marketer to charge as much as N110 per litre of Premum Motor spirit as against the official price of N87. The development is coming despite assurances by the Pipelines Products and Petroleum Marketing Company (PPPMC) last week that the country had adequate reserve of products to meet domestic needs..
A senior official of the company had also yesterday told Reuters that Nigeria issued its final allocations for subsidised gasoline imports for the fourth quarter at 1.41 million tonnes,.
Nigeria imports the bulk of its gasoline requirement be- cause of its dilapidated refining system, which President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to revive, though delayed subsidy payments and the low availability of dollars in the economy has made it increasingly difficult for im- porters to meet the country’s needs, creating shortages, and triggering panic-buying of fuel at various petrol stations across the country.
Consequently long queues were seen at Mobil stations at Oba Akran, Ikeja, and on Ijaiye Road Ogba as well as Forte Oil near the domestic wing of Murtala Mohammed Airport in Ikeja Lagos.
This is the first time the country is experiencing such a crippling fuel scarcity in the first six months of the All Progressive Congress government led by Mohammadu Buhari who was sworrn in as President on May 29, 2015.
It would be recalled that severe fuel crisis had crippled the country in May following a stand-off between marketers and outgone administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan over whether their debts would be honoured.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) looks after the fuel imports that are subsidised which it allocates to a number of importers.
The number of importers was 37 in the third quarter, but the PPPRA source said that the list was trimmed to between 20 and 30, while traders put the number at about 21.
The country has been hit hard by falling global crude prices, which forced the central bank to introduce some foreign exchange restrictions in June to stop its currency from crashing.
Two weeks ago Nigeria’s new government approved payment of N413 billion ($2 billion) in subsidies, with some still dating from 2014, but funds have yet to be transferred because they have yet to signed off by the National Assembly. Importers have not been paid their subsidy since the change of government and the delay has worsened the financial crunch for importers.
Source: Daily Sun Nigeria