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Motorists groan as fuel scarcity bites harder, may linger till January, says oil marketers

Some independent oil marketers have hinted that the persistent fuel scarcity being experienced in the country may affect the yuletide festivities and linger till early next year. 

What is responsible for fuel scarcity? 

According to reports, oil marketers are now free to sell petrol at an unregulated price as the Federal government continues to show a lack of interest in restraining them from doing so. 

Since the return of long queues at fuel stations in Lagos and other major cities across the country earlier in the week, there’s been no official statement from the government on the cause of fuel scarcity. The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC have instead kept mute on the matter. 

However, in its reports on product sufficiency released on Thursday, NMDPRA claimed that there was enough fuel in the country, stating that about 2.1 billion liters of premium motor spirit, PMS was in stock despite the nationwide scarcity-induced queues. 

Oil marketers have countered the claim arguing that there had been concerns around logistics and the supply of the products by the national oil company and the sole importer. They also said some new charges were introduced in the downstream sector which increased the ex-depot price of petrol. 

Speaking to the Punch Newspapers on condition of anonymity, one of the oil marketers said:

“Recently, there have been a lot of charges that the NNPC adds to the pump price, but recently we were told to be prepared to bear freight charges and others”

“Also, pipeline charges that used to be 50kobo before are now 1 naira per liter. Now these charges force depot owners to increase their ex-depot rates as against the one proposed by the NNPC” 

“These and more concerns have led to the crisis in the downstream sector and it may stretch till December or even beyond if nothing tangible is done to address the challenges”. 

Forex scarcity responsible for the shortfall in the petrol supply 

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Ukadike Chinedu has also blamed the scarcity of Foreign Exchange on the shortfall in the supply of petrol products in the country. 

Chinedu said foreign exchange rate, foreign interruptions, and the price of diesel are all factors affecting petroleum product prices in the country as we solely depend on imported fuel. 

Meanwhile, motorists in Lagos and other major cities across the country are groaning as the situation keeps worsening. Despite the long queues, fuel stations are selling for between 200 and 250 naira per liter. 

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