• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Long queues return to filling stations as petrol scarcity bites harder in Akwa Ibom

Petrol queues return as subsidy backlog stifles supply

Long queues have resurfaced at mega filling stations in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital as fuel price continues to rise daily with independent marketers making upward adjustments for the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol now sells for N100O per litre.

At the mega filling station run by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) along Ikot Ekpene road, a few kilometres from the city centre, long queues of motorists snaked many metres to the Uyo–Ekpene highway while many of the service stations operated by independent marketers did not open for business.

The check showed that while the mega station was selling its products at the approved pump of N595 per litre, the independent markets had a field day selling fuel at between N800 and N1000 per litre.

It was not immediately clear why the price of fuel has witnessed an astronomical increase within a few days as motorists who spoke with our correspondents said they bought fuel at N700 per litre last Monday.

“I bought fuel (petrol) three days ago at N730 per litre. I am now paying N800 per litre and many filling stations are selling it for N1000 per litre,’’ said a commercial motorcycle operator.

According to him, there was a face-off between the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the National Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) over allegations of extortion and impounding of tankers which resulted in scarcity of the products.

It was gathered that with the intervention of Governor Umo Eno who held a closed-door meeting with the product marketers, the contending issues were resolved and the filling station owners reopened their shops for businesses.

However, the availability of the product in the towns was short-lived as the state was to experience another round of scarcity as more filling stations adjusted their pump price as soon as the crisis was over.

Akwa Ibom as a major player in the petroleum industry being a key producer has no petrochemical facility, it has no refinery or petroleum depot. All the products used in the state are brought in by trucks from either Calabar in Cross River or Port Harcourt in Rivers State or other states of the federation.

The long queues and the high cost of petroleum products have further contributed to the economic hardship leading to the high cost of foodstuff and other goods and services.

Many motorists in a bid to buy fuel at the mega station spend long hours away from other economic activities.