Fuel scarcity hits Kwara, Imo

25 February 2015,Ilorin – Long queue of desperate motorists searching for petrol on Tuesday resurfaced in Ilorin and other parts of Kwara State as well as Owerri and its environs in Imo State.

One of our correspondents, who monitored the development in the Ilorin metropolis, observed that attendants at many filling stations in Tanke area, Fate Road, Muritala Muhammed Road, Kulende area, Ajase-Ipo Road, Unity Road and other parts of the town did not sell petrol to customers.

The situation led to long queues of motorists, who waited anxiously in anticipation that the product would be sold later. The attendants and managers of the stations declined comments when approached.

The scarcity led to a marginal increase in transport fares, with commercial motorcyclists raising their fares from N50 to N70.

The Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, Ilorin branch, Mr. Olanrewaju Okanlawon, said the scarcity was as a result of insufficiency of the product from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

In Imo, officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources shut many filling stations, particularly those belonging to independent marketers, who were accused of selling petrol above the N87 per litre approved by the Federal Government.

This development hampered economic activities in the state as movements of persons and goods were severely affected.

One of our correspondents who visited government ministries and schools in Owerri, the state capital, observed that many workers and students reported late at their duty posts.

A major marketer in the state, Chief Ndubuisi Ihenekwe, said that the reason for the shutdown of filling stations by the DPR was the inability of the marketers to sell fuel at the regulated price of N87 per litre because the product was being bought from the depots in Aba, Calabar and Port Harcourt at over N90 per litre.

“How can we sell at N87 when we buy above N90?” Ihenekwe queried.

Apparently worried by the prospect of the scarcity of the product extending across the country, the Federal Government has agreed to pay the marketers a total of N264bn as subsidy arrears from 2014.

It was gathered that the government, which promised to effect the settlement between now and March, had drawn a payment timetable for the purpose.

The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, was said to have given the assurance of payment to the marketers at a meeting in Lagos on Monday evening.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, said the actual subsidy arrears for the period under focus was N164bn, while N100bn was the interest accrued and the foreign exchange differential.

Olawore said, “The minister has given a schedule of payment, which is between now and March, and this has been agreed to by us. We expect that all parties will keep their own sides of the agreement.

“There was a drop in fuel supply in the country, but the good news is that we met with the Minister of Finance and we have been promised and assured that our money will be ready between now and the end of March.

“We have agreed with the payment schedule. We believe her; the fuel supply situation, which was low before, will pick up. If any tightness in the purchase of fuel was experienced before now, it was just temporal. Products will be made available and we are going to play our part.”

– Punch

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