24 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The on-going petrol scarcity across major cities in Nigeria has unleashed chaos and panic among commuters, many who are forced to make do with black markets where the product is sold for as much as N400 a litre.
For over two weeks, petrol stations in the country have been selling fuel at high prices, with many eventually ‘closing shop’ when the fuel supply they have runs out.
In many cities including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the fuel is being sold at as high as N400.
Authorities have issued several reassurances and statements over the course of the week, but none of the government’s actions seem to be bearing fruit in resolving the shortages.
Nigeria’s state oil firm, Nigerian National Petroleum Corpration (NNPC) announced that had more than doubled the daily supply of fuel for motorists to 80 million litres, attributing the shortage to a “hiccup in the supply chain”.
“Some marketers, in their quest to cash in on the situation, suddenly started hoarding products,” the NNPC firm said in a statement, again calling on motorists not to panic buy fuel.
On Saturday, the NNPC claimed it has intensified efforts to flood the market with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol.
It disclosed that six major marketers including Total, Forte Oil, Oando Plc, MRS, 11 Plc and Nipco Plc, are now loading the product round the clock from their various depots in Lagos for onward trucking to all parts of the country, NNPC General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Nghamadu said.
The supplies are mostly from Cargoes of PMS imported to by NNPC which are daily berthing and immediately being made to discharge their products to stem the supply hiccups.
The imported products are also being supplemented by supplies from the local refineries.
NNPC assured Nigerians to remain calm and not to engage in panic buying as the end of the challenge is nigh.
Marketers are strongly advised against hoarding as security agencies, working with industry regulators, would mete out appropriate sanctions to defaulters.
Earlier in the week, NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru stated that the Corporation’s 1 billion litres PMS cargo imports had started to arrive, saying supplies to parts of the country had been doubled to 80million litres per day since the current hiccup in the supply chain was noticed a few days back.
Nigeria has particularly experienced fuel shortages in recent years, which usually result in long queues for fuel, wide spread power cuts at businesses that rely on petrol-driven generators to withstand frequent power outages and grounded planes.
Many Nigerians also attribute the fuel shortages to politics and not the market forces of demand and supply.
Nigeria’s ruling APC on Friday reacted to the petrol scarcity, saying there was no basis for it. “There’s no ‘actual scarcity’”, the APC said in a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon.
The party blamed marketers and panic buying amidst Yuletide holidays for the lingering scarcity.
The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party on the other hand have called out President Muhammadu Buhari who also doubles as the country’s Petroleum minister to fix the situation since ‘the buck stops with him’.
One of the governors in Nigeria, Governor Ayodele Fayose went as far as asking the president to resign arguing that “since the scarcity is largely inexplicable, it’s only logical to conclude that federal authorities are behind it.”
With just 1 day to the festive Christmas holiday that is celebrated in both countries, there will be even more pressure on the authorities to quickly and conclusively solve the fuel shortages.