BusinessDay

Petrol scarcity, diesel hike hit schools, parents hard

Many parents and schools in Lagos State are faced with difficult times as the ongoing petrol scarcity and diesel hike bite harder on the economy and social life of citizens.

Diesel now sells for over N800 per liter in some parts of the country as against the N165 per liter previously sold. And this is causing widespread worry for school owners and parents as well because most of these schools rely on either diesel or petrol to power their generators and run the school buses.

Just three days into the ongoing petrol scarcity and diesel hike which obviously was noticed on Monday, June 20, in Lagos many schools are beginning to change their academic schedules in order to cope with the realities on the ground.

A concerned parent with children in the Edidot School at Coca-Cola Bus Stop, Badore Road in Ijoyi- Ajah of Lagos was surprised to see his children return before the school’s normal closing hour.

On interrogation, the children disclosed that the school’s authority mandated them to go home before the usual closing hours because they could not cope with the economic hardship being caused by the scarcity of petroleum and hike in diesel prices.

When BusinessDay called the Edidot School the administrator confirmed the development but could not explain why the school took such a step, rather she was angry about the media’s interest in the affairs of the school.

For Chrisland Schools in the Ajah axis of Lagos State, one of the administrators confirmed to BusinessDay that though there is petrol scarcity, the school is not much affected due to the fact that the elites mostly inhabit the vicinity.

Read also: Anxiety as fuel scarcity lingers in Abuja

“I think because of the location of my school where you have elites the power supply is a bit better but be that as it may, we have to draw up a timetable and also move the closing hour from 4 pm to 3 pm pending the time normalcy would return,” he stated.

For City Pride Schools in the Okota suburb of Lagos State, according to one of the teachers in the school, the petrol scarcity cum diesel hike is no longer a problem as the school now runs on solar energy.

“My school is not relying on diesel or fuel again. We are using solar energy to power the school.

“The only area it is affecting us is when the inverter circuit breaker didn’t accumulate enough sunlight during the day, we are going to have a blackout which we are experiencing right now,” he said.

David Olowokere, a parent in Magodo said his children are not affected by the scarcity because the school his children attend has this “willing-buyer willing-seller arrangement”.

This is an arrangement whereby the power distributors enter into an agreement with individuals or groups to provide steady electricity at a higher price.

The willing-buyer, the willing-seller arrangement is Nigeria’s initiative to liberalise the power sector, where parts of the value chain (fuel producer and transporter, GenCos, Transmission Company, and DisCos), as well as the consumers, engage in a willing buyer-willing seller trade amongst each other.

However, many parents lamented the financial cost they have faced within the week as the cost of transporting their children to and fro schools via commercial buses has increased without subsequently increased income to cushion the effects.

Nevertheless, in face of all these rumbles, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has maintained that the pump price for premium motor spirit (PMS) remains at N165 per litre.

This was just as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday assured Nigerians that it has over two billion litres of PMS that would last for the next 34 days in the country, adding that there was enough stock to meet the nation’s demand.

But the challenge is where will the people get the fuel? Most of the schools are now relying on black markets which sell at more than a 100 percent increase for supply of the needed fuel.