Fuel scarcity hits Abuja

Hundreds of motorists on Friday were left stranded at petrol stations in Abuja as they spent hours on long queues waiting to buy fuel.

The queues were largely pronounced in the city centre as most of the filling stations in satellite towns refused to sell the product without giving customers any reason why they decided not to sell.

At the Total and Conoil petrol stations opposite the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the city centre, the long queues for fuel led to tense vehicular gridlock.

The Federal Government, in a bid to avert fuel scarcity, agreed to pay petroleum marketers a total of N264bn as subsidy arrears from 2014.

The settlement, it was learnt, will be between February and March and a payment timetable had been drawn for the purpose.

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was said to have given the assurance of payment to the marketers at a meeting in Lagos on Monday evening.

The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, had told journalists that the actual subsidy arrears for the period under focus was N164bn, while N100bn was the interest accrued and the foreign exchange differential.
Olawore said, “The minister has given a schedule of payment, which is between now and March, and this has been agreed to by us. We expect that all parties will keep their own sides of the agreement.

“There was a drop in fuel supply in the country, but the good news is that we met with the Minister of Finance and we have been promised and assured that our money will be ready between now and the end of March.

“We have agreed with the payment schedule. We believe her; the fuel supply situation, which was low before, will pick up. If any tightness in the purchase of fuel was experienced before now, it was just temporal. Products will be made available and we are going to play our part.”
Credit: Okechukwu Nnodim/Punch