• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Despite NNPC assurances fuel crisis worsens


Despite weekend assurances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), fuel scarcity in the country got worse on Monday, crippling economic activities. Motorists queued for hours and some had to pass the night at filling stations in search of petrol. Following the scarcity, few vehicles that were plying the road jerked up their fares. NNPC last Friday announced additional injection of 600,103,047 metric tons of premium motor spirit (PMS) into the system to arrest any short fall that may have been triggered by the unnecessary fears of an imminent scarcity of product. Equally, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) assured of normalising the market with product. It was observed that most of the filling stations in Abuja metropolis were not selling, except few that rationed the sales from one or two pumps. Although their pump prices remained N87 per litre, black market operators had a field day on the commuters as they sold between N120 and N200 per litre, depending on bargain power. At the NNPC mega filling station on Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Central Area, long queues of vehicles were on three lanes blocking the entire road and forcing motorists to drive against the traffic. The chaotic situation was also the same at the Forte Oil, adjacent to the NNPC mega station, where the queue stretched to the UAC fence. The Conoil and Total filling stations opposite NNPC headquarters delayed selling until afternoon, with the queues by hundreds of motorists who had passed the previous nights, forming circles. The circles stretched from the stations through the Bureau of Statistics Complex, to the Unity Bank building, and back to NNPC towers. A taxi cab fare within the Central Business District in the capital city has increased from the normal N250 per drop to N400 and forcing people to postpone transactions. The situation is the same in Kano where motorists are also experiencing acute scarcity of the product. Sani Manager, a filing station operator, at Hotoro area of the metropolis, alleged that the scarcity was due to the refusal of the Federal Ministry Finance to honour its financial obligation as regards subsidy
claims to most of the marketers importing refined petroleum product into the country. In Lagos, most fuel stations remained shut. In Apapa, Ikotun, Surulere, Ketu, Victoria Island and others where filling stations are selling, the queues are long, stretching onto the roads and causing gridlock. An attendant at a filling station in Bariga, Lagos, said the station had not sold petrol for the past three days, as tanks were dry and queues were mounting because they could not load products from the depot after exhausting the ones they had in their reserve. Some of the petrol stations have increased their pump price from the official price of N87 per litre to N100 and above. The fuel scarcity has begun to inflict pain on motorists, and commuters who are sometimes left stranded at major bus stops and motor parks, while fares have been increased to some destinations. In most cases, fare has doubled. In some stations, dealers sold PMS between N92 per litre and N100 per litre, saying the ex-depot price of the product has increased to N89.50 per litre. Those selling black market near NNPC depot at Ejigbo area of Lagos had a field day. Some of them were selling a litre between N250 and N300. Our correspondents report that the scarcity has also hit Rivers, Imo, Abia, Sokoto, Ogun, Edo, Ebonyi, Niger, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau states among others. Meanwhile, the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday began fresh measures to halt what it described as artificially induced petrol scarcity in some parts of the country. To this end, the corporation said it planned to import more than one billion litres of petrol in March to address short fall in supply. Joseph Dawha, the group managing director (GMD), NNPC, in conjunction with the chief executive officers of the NNPC subsidiaries, began detailed monitoring of fuel stations in Abuja. Others in the exercise are the executive secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Farouk Ahmed, and the managing director of Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Haruna Momoh. Also in the team was the director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), George Osahon.