BusinessDay

From restaurants to schools: How rising diesel price hurts Nigerians

At a filling station near the Orile Police Division, Lagos, Aliu Ibrahim, a truck driver, who has watched diesel pump prices rise from N600 to N800 in the last couple of weeks, said he could not believe the jump in price.

“This is a problem for me,” said Ibrahim. “My income per trip will reduce from what it is currently.”

Across Nigeria, drivers like Ibrahim are reconsidering their spending habits amid skyrocketing prices for diesel, other petroleum products and gas, due to Russia’s war with Ukraine and the global rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Energy prices are a major driver of global inflation, which is increasing the cost of living.

A pump operator in a filling station does not look forward to resuming work. A proprietress, who needs her students, their guardians and staff in school, has switched from diesel to petrol school buses. A restaurant manager in Yaba, who has to keep the lights on, hiked the prices of food and drinks on its menu to stay in business.

Leke Opeyemi, a pump operator working for TINPET, in Orile, Lagos, said sales had dropped significantly on the back of the steep rise in diesel price in the past weeks.

“The hike in price has affected sales,” said Opeyemi. “The number of people coming in has lessened, and the quantity they are getting has reduced.”

Many pump operators assigned to the diesel section have been having little to no activity, thereby dampening their zeal to resume work.

Even some stations (as at the time of this report), such as Saitaru in Orile and Golden Super in Ijora-Badia, have shut down their diesel pump, focusing on petrol and kerosene sales.

In Abuja, Glorylanders International School has refused to transfer costs to their students’ guardians and switched to using petrol-fuelled buses as diesel pump price bites.

Oluwakemi Ajagbe, proprietress of the school, said the school is facing difficulties in accessing diesel and managing parents, students and staff.

Read also: NBS reports diesel prices rise highest in 3 months

“Despite the hike in diesel and petrol prices, we did not increase school fees. The economy is not favourable for parents. And concerning the buses, after some time we moved from using diesel to petrol for school buses,” she said.

The proprietress said transferring the higher costs might make parents withdraw their children, thereby making it difficult for the school to pay salaries to staff.

“The staff members have complained of the rise in transportation cost due to the hike in diesel price,” she said.

Olamide Amoo, manager at Bistro 183, said the hike in diesel price has made his restaurant transfer the cost of food and drinks to the customers.

“Before now, we sold beer for N500 but due to the rise in diesel, we had to increase it to N700. Restaurants run on electricity and ours is no different but the epileptic state of electricity in the area has worsened our situation,” Amoo said. “We spend at least N50,000 to power the building, fridges and other things.”

Clement Isong, chief executive officer and executive secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, said Russia’s attack on Ukraine increased the price of crude oil and all of its derivatives, including diesel and aviation fuel.

He said, “The ongoing war has caused crude oil prices to rise globally. The issue is that even if you have the money, it is not always easy to come by.

“Marketers are having difficulty sourcing and importing products into the country. Then there’s the issue of gaining access to forex, which has proven difficult for marketers. So, when you combine these two factors, you will understand why we are having this problem.”

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