July 21, 2024

Gloomy Sallah: Fuel shortages, higher transportation costs, power outages in Lagos, Abuja, others


Oredola Adeola, Attahiru Suleiman

In contempt of the Federal Government’s pledges of product sufficiency, the Muslim celebration of Eid-el-Kabir in Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, and other major cities across the nation in 2022, was overshadowed by a cocktail of disturbing issues, including fuel shortages, power outages, and increased transportation costs.

Lagos residents spent the majority of the festival looking for petrol for their cars and electricity generators, even at prices above the official rate of N165, according to EnergyDay correspondents who monitored the situation in the affected states.

Long lines were observed at major filling stations over the weekend and early hours of Monday. Due to a lack of available products, the majority of filling stations on Lagos mainland were closed, while other sold at higher prices.

In the Alimosho axis, a Lagos suburb, petroleum motor spirit sold for N200 per litre with additional surcharge of N100 for consumers that are buying into storage plastic containers.

The queues for petrol in Abuja has never ceased since February this year, but it grew worse in neighbouring states of Nasarawa, Kogi and Niger on Sunday as motorists searched for PMS to move around during the Sallah break.

Oil marketers and managers of the filling stations attributed the scarcity and hike to insufficient supply of petrol by NNPC. Some IPMAN members especially in the Northern Zone blamed the scarcity on non-payment of bridging claims for the transportation of petrol were the key reasons for the scarcity.

The impact of the scarcity was also high in major parts of Ogun State, as the product shortage led to a hike in transportation fare within the state. This however compounded the pains of commuters travelling from the state into Lagos and Ibadan during the Sallah festival.

Our correspondent reported that most of the transporters resorted to black market and deliberately jerked the fare price by 400 percent, in protest against the scarcity.

EnergyDay gathered that between Friday and Sunday transporters charged N5000 for trips between Sango and Ibadan.

A tour of the state showed that most of the filling stations were under locks and keys as few who were opened for business dispensed petrol for N200 per litre and above.

The crisis was  escalated by poor power supply from the electricity distribution company(DisCo), as major parts of the state were thrown into darkness for the entire period of the festive period and Monday.

Many vehicles were held up while most residents were seen with  petrol kegs in queues at some of  the filling stations that were opened for business.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited has in reaction to the scarcity revealed that the queues in  Lagos, Abuja and other states will vanish in three (3) days.

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd made this known in an interview with Arise News on Sunday, monitored by EnergyDay.

Kyari blamed  the crisis on supply disruptions which he said is being resolved. He noted that the Corporation is fully aware that there are issues with pricing and expects prices to normalise for the Nigerian consumer.

He said, “First of all, there are issues around supply disruptions, this we are overcoming them, we have resolved them, and in the next 3 to 4 days, people will see relief and it ( fuel queues) will vanish.

“As we all know, there are no fuel queues in most parts of the country except Lagos and Abuja and we understand the real logistics issues and I am confident within the next 2-3 days this will vanish.

“There is no question around it (PMS price); the President has authorized his discretion, and the right decision to increase the cost of transporting fuel by N10, that means transporters will be able to take product from any depots to the furthest fuel station without any delay.”

“We also acknowledge that there are some facing logistic challenges, particularly in the marine sector we are resolving those, and convinced that prices will normalise very soon”, he added.

As at the period of filing this report, the scarcity still persists and EnergyDay is monitoring the situation.

This experience is coming barely days ahead of the July 19 date set by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to transit to a full fledged commercial enterprise with clear functions to dispense petroleum products through its forecourts.

Worries are mounting as uncertainty seems to have taken charge of regulating a market that the government has failed to deregulate in spite of an unbearable economic burden on the country’s treasury which is gradually sliding into an avoidable crisis.

EnergyDay’s previous reports had mentioned the government’s exit plan from the subsidy problem will be tacit and the days ahead may be a bit bumpy for citizens as the government unwinds from the subsidy problem without necessarily coming out publicly, to admit its actions.

The country’s minister for Finance , Mrs Zainab Ahmed alluded to this strategy during her media briefings on the issue of subsidy as it affects electricity and petroleum sectors.