Fuel scarcity persists


The fuel shortage that has engulfed the country in the past one month may not improve until the middle or end of April as many marketers are currently finding it difficult to finance the import allocations they recently got from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.

It was gathered on Sunday that a significant number of the independent marketers, who got import allocations from the PPPRA, were finding it difficult to finance them as banks had refused to raise Letters of Credit for them.

Though the Federal Government still owes the marketers substantial subsidy claims, many of those affected, who are considered small, are said to lack the financial muscle to attract more loans from the banks without paying what they currently owe.
“The marketers are facing financial challenges because they are finding it difficult to finance their import allocations. The supply situation may not improve until the middle of April; and if care is not taken, it may last till the end of April,” an industry source, who asked not to be named, said.
The country’s daily petrol consumption currently stands at 35 million litres, but since fuel scarcity began last month, the market has been under supplied. As such, there has been cyclical shortage as the supply has failed to meet the demand.

The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, said it was true that the Federal Government owed the marketers huge subsidy claims.
“For us as majors, it is not totally true that we are facing financial constraints towards importing petroleum products, but for some smaller marketers, this may be true and that is why it is important for the government to pay subsidy claims as and when due,” he said.
Already, fuel depots have increased the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) from N87.70k per litre to over N100.

In Lagos over the weekend, petrol, which the marketers normally buy for N87.70k per litre, was being sold for over N100 across different depots.

Consequently, marketers have also increased the pump price of petrol from N97 to between N110 and N120 per litre.

The Chairman, Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Western Zone, Mr. Tokunbo Korodo, said the increase in the pump price of petrol was because the product was not being made available to the marketers.
He said, “Some of the marketers are now patronising black marketers who sell above the pump price.

“The few ones selling at the pump price have seriously adjusted their pumps by selling lesser quantity that does not correspond to the money the masses are paying just to avoid closure of the stations by the DPR.”