Monday, March 3, 2014

A MUST READ: Why Long Queues Persist At Petrol Stations In Lagos


Long queues of vehicles piled up at petrol stations across Nigeria on Monday while commuters were left stranded at bus stops as a fuel shortage hits hard.
 *Motorists queuing for fuel at a filling station in Lagos
 Petrol marketers and tanker drivers blamed the shortfall on a delay in the approval of fuel import permits by the state-run oil firm — and warned that the situation could take weeks to resolve.
They called on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), accused recently by the former central bank governor of defrauding $20 billion in oil revenue, to make petrol reserves available.
In the meantime, motorists began panic buying and attendants were seen doing a brisk trade selling fuel in jerry-cans and plastic containers.
Drivers waited in line for fuel in the financial hub Lagos over the weekend as well as in the capital Abuja, the southern oil city of Port Harcourt and Kano, the biggest city in the north. In nearby towns of Ijebu-Ode and Epe, most fuel stations did not sell fuel on Sunday.
The few stations that have fuel were selling at between 100 and 150 naira (60-90 US cents, 43-65 euro cents) per litre — well above the official subsidised price of 97 naira.
In Lagos, home to an estimated 20 million and notorious for traffic snarl-ups, long tail-backs outside petrol stations caused gridlock on roads, hitting even the shortest journeys.

“I have been in the queue since 4:00 am (0300 GMT) when I left home but it appears this petrol station will not sell,” motorist Sola Oke told a reporter at a filling station in the Abule-Egba district.
Oke said he would have to park his car nearby because he did not have enough fuel to take him to his office in Ikeja, some 10 kilometres (six miles) away.
The shortage also had a knock-on effect on buses, which are widely used for commuting, forcing up fares by at least 50 percent and making those unable to pay the new prices to walk.
Businesses in Nigeria depend on petrol, not just to run company fleets but also back-up electricity generators given daily power outages on the country’s crumbling grid.
Abolaji Odumesi, a major distributor for foreign and local breweries, said he feared his 12 trucks and buses would have to be pulled off the road.
“I have been buying petrol on the black market at exorbitant rates to run my beer business,” he added.
“The little profit am getting is being wiped out,” he said, warning that firms would shut if the situation continued.
The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) claimed the shortage was caused by a delay in approving fuel imports in the first quarter of this year.
“The importers got their permits for the first quarter only last week and this has created a shortfall in supply,” said the head of NUPENG’s petrol truck drivers arm, Tokunbo Korodo.
Depots ran out of fuel supplies two weeks ago, prompting rationing of the little that remained to petrol stations across the country, he added.
“A depot that normally loads 200 trucks now loads 25. In such a situation, there will be scarcity in the market,” he added.
Korodo said the shortage may continue until tankers brought fresh supplies.
But he warned that it takes about three weeks to ship in fuel from abroad and it would take “some time” before there was enough fuel available across the country.
“The NNPC should release petrol from its reserves to save the situation,” he added.
No NNPC official was immediately available for comment but Nigerian media quoted the company as blaming unscrupulous petrol stations for hoarding fuel to cause an artificial shortage.
The company said anyone caught profiteering could be prosecuted.
Nigeria has four oil refineries but none produces up to its installed capacity because of mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption.
That forces the west African country to import fuel, even though it produces some two million barrels of crude per day, most of which is exported. 

No comments:

Post a Comment