Friday, 15 April 2016

Fuel scarcity persists despite govt’s promises

Motorists queue at a filling station
• All six geopolitical zones hard hit
• Officials query lingering shortage despite
massive supplies to filling stations
• Crude oil price rises above $44 per barrel
Not much relief has come the way of Nigerians, government’s efforts at tackling the lingering fuel scarcity notwithstanding.
Premium Motor Spirit still sells at between N150 and N300 per litre in some parts of the country
Despite promises that it would soon be over, the fuel scarcity problem persists to the extent that even government officials are beginning to wonder why.
But gloomy as the domestic outlook may seem, the latest trend in the international crude oil market may spell a positive outlook for Nigeria in the 2016 fiscal year, as the crude oil prices rose to $44.38 per barrel yesterday.
In the North-Central and South-West, petrol sells at between N150 and N360 at petrol stations, a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has shown. North-Central comprises Jos, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Benue, while South-West is made up of Ibadan, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Kwara.
Correspondents of NAN monitoring the situation report that long queues of vehicles were noticed at most of the stations despite the high cost of the product.
NAN reports that in Jos, motorists in their hundreds now sleep over in their cars at NNPC Mega stations because other stations dispensed the product between N280 and N330 .
With car owners getting desperate, the managements of some stations had introduced tallies to reduce the chaos at the stations.
In Niger, motorists buy a litre at N200. A trader, Alhaji Abdulahi Tella, told NAN that “we buy a litre for N200, this is becoming normal and we do not see much wrong with that any longer.’’
NAN reports that Gov. Abubakar Bello on Monday visited some stations and NNPC mega stations where he advised against hoarding and sharp practices.
Alhaji Abdulahi Isa, Controller of DPR in Niger, blamed the shortage on the low supply of the commodity.“Niger is supposed to get 30 trucks per day but we get only two on the average,’’ he said.
The situation is the same in Kogi, where a litre is being sold for between N200 and N260 in most filling stations in Lokoja.
In the South-East comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo, petrol sells for between N200 and N280 per litre at many petrol stations.
In Ebonyi, the product is sold for between N250 and N280 per litre at stations owned by the independent marketers in the state, while in Enugu State, though there has been an increase in the volume of supply in the metropolis, the product is still sold for between N200 and N220 per litre.
Correspondents, who monitored the situation in Abakaliki, report that long queues were seen at stations that have the product.
In Imo and Anambra, petrol sells for between N200 and N220 per litre.
Meanwhile, the NNPC Mega Stations in Owerri have been under lock and key for the past two weeks. The Manager of an NNPC Mega Station along Owerri-Onitsha Road, Mr. Bob Onyejiuwa, told NAN that the station had never sold the product above the official price.
He expressed optimism that the product would soon be available to the station, adding that it would help to ease the stress people were undergoing.
Although the Federal Government did not make provisions for the payment of subsidy in the budget, the new template issued by Petroleum Product Pricing Agency (PPPRA), showed an open market price of about N95.09, against the N86 per litre official pump price.

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