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Friday, May 24, 2024

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Petrol Scarcity Spread Across Nigeria

…Latest report on the fuel scarcity issue says the crisis will drag for two weeks.

 Olushola Bello

The shortage of petrol has spread to Lagos State as motorists and others waited for hours in queues at the few filling stations dispensing the product.

Other states that experienced acute scarcity are Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Edo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger and Jigawa.

The scarcity first hit the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) last week. But an improvement was noticed by The Nation across Abuja yesterday.

Most Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) franchise stations, especially in Lagos, had their gates closed to motorists due to lack of stock. However, some marketers that opened for business in the nation’s commercial capital had queues.

Unlike independent marketers who cashed in on the situation to slightly hike their pump prices, the majors did not. But, as vehicle owners and other petrol users lamented the situation, the NNPC Ltd and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) blamed the scarcity on the logistics challenge.

They, however, gave an assurance that normalcy would return this week as product lifting started by marketers.

NNPCL Chief Communications Officer, Olufemi Soneye, said the company had no issues with stock availability.

He explained that each time a supply disruption happens (like the one caused by logistics hiccups), it normally takes a maximum of five days for normalcy to return.

Scarcity to last two weeks

But latest report on the fuel scarcity issue says the crisis will drag for two weeks. The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, said on Sunday that the petrol scarcity currently spreading to more states across the country will take at least two weeks to normalise.

But the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NPCL insisted  that it has adequate stock of the product.

However, the Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, Chinedu Ukadike, said the product is not available in the country.

He said it has become a bit of a challenge to source the product because most refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance.

Ukadike also blamed the acute shortage in supply on importation bottlenecks and the slow pace of marketers’ licence renewal by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA.

He said that only 1,050 marketers out of 15,000 have had their licences renewed by NMDPRA.

Said he: “The situation is that there is no product. Once there is a lack of supply or inadequate supply, what you will see is scarcity and queues will emerge at filling stations.

“On the part of NNPCL, which is the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria, they have attributed the challenge to logistics and vessel problems.”

 “We expect that by next week or so, NNPC should be able to restore supply and with another week, normalcy should return”.

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