April 16, 2024

Nationwide fuel scarcity, panic buying in Lagos, Abuja, others as petrol stations shut down over Tinubu fuel subsidy removal plan

Oredola Adeola

 

The major marketers of petroleum products in different parts of Nigeria have shut down their operations over uncertainties in the downstream sector arising from the inaugural statement of President Bola Tinubu to end the controversial subsidy payment on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol by June 2023.

 

 

President Tinubu in his inaugural address on Monday, at the Eagle Square, in Abuja, after he was sworn-in as the 16th President of Nigeria, had insisted that “The fuel subsidy is gone!”

 

 

He said that there was no provision for subsidy in the budget from June 2023, emphasising that the removal stands.

 

Further findings by EnergyDay’s correspondents showed that Tinubu’s statement has jolted motorists and other consumers of the products into panic buying, as they felt it is necessary to save as much products as possible within the window of period available to get subsidized product, before the full implementation of the petrol subsidy removal later in June.

 

 

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, former Minister of finance, budget and national planning, who served under the former President Muhammadu Buhari, had hinted the plan by the government to halt the petrol subsidy in June 2023.

 

Mrs Zainab had in a recent statement said that the government projected to spend N6.7 trillion on petrol subsidy payments for the year 2023 but later reduced it to N3.35 trillion as contained in the 2023-2035 medium term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy paper (MTEF&FSP).

 

EnergyDay’s correspondent who monitored the situation on Monday gathered most of the fuel stations in Alimosho,  Abule Egba, Agege, Egbeda, Igando, Iyana Iba, and Festac areas of Lagos State, shut their facilities in anticipation of the subsidy removal.

 

Meanwhile, filling stations in Lekki/Ajah axis of Lagos state recorded long queues of motorists and residents who have decided to rush to the stations to buy as much products as they can before the scarcity begins.

 

 

The situation was, however, the same in Ogun state as most of the filling stations in Sango, Ifo and Papalanto areas of the state were under locks and keys as only a few were seen selling at between N300 and N400 to customers following the inaugural statement of Mr. Tinubu.

 

Filling stations in Benin City, Edo State have increased their pump price to N300.00 per litre, as majority of the stations in the metropolitan area were under lock and keys.

 

Hoarding of the product by petroleum products marketers was also recorded in different parts of the country including Ondo, Delta, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

 

 

NNPCL REACTS

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) which is the sole importer of premium motor spirit (PMS) in the country, has reacted to the President’s statement, welcoming the decision of the new administration to remove subsidy on PMS.

 

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL in a statement addressing the press on Monday, noted that the removal of the subsidy, which has been a burden on the national oil company’s cash flow, will free up funds to enable optimal operations within the company.

 

Reacting to the scarcity already being experienced, the NNPCL GCEO assured Nigerians of a sufficient supply of the product.

 

According to him, the NNPC Limited is also monitoring all its distribution networks to ensure compliance.

 

 

 

NMDPRA VOWS TO SHUT DOWN FILLING STATIONS HOARDING

 

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has commended President Tinubu for the pronouncement he made over the subsidy removal.

 

Engr. Ahmed Farouk, Authority’s Chief Executive, in a statement addressing the media said that the decision of the President was in tandem with the provisions of the law.

 

He confirmed that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) provided that the subsidy on PMS should be removed from February last year and luckily the National Assembly has also provided the budgetary allocation for subsidy removal in 2022 and 2023.

 

“The good thing about it is that NNPC the supplier of the commodity has been struggling for some time and in order to survive, the removal is actually necessary.

 

“As much as possible. and now we will be working with NNPC to ensure that there is a continuous flow of petroleum products especially the PMS to prevent any shortfall in the supply chain.

 

 

“We have noticed fuel queues in the FCT and other parts of the country due to panic buying as a reaction to the pronouncement of the President.

 

 

“We are calling on all and sundry to take it easy. He assured that as a regulator that NMDPRA will ensure that consumers of the products are not shortchanged.

 

“We are going to be working with other agencies and the security operatives to FCCPC to ensure that we abide by the provision s of the law.

 

We are calling on MOMAN, IPMAN, and DAPPPMAN to ensure that they continue opening their facilities and avoid hoarding the products because the regulators will open its search net to ensure that the Nigerians are not cheated,” the ACE said.

 

 

 

IPMAN KICKS AGAINST SUDDEN IMPLEMENTATION OF SUBSIDY REMOVAL

 

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has rejected the decision of President Tinubu to end fuel subsidy based on the provisions made by his predecessor.

 

Chief Ukadike Chinedu, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, National Public Relations Officer, on his part urged the new government administration to engage with marketers before embarking on the final removal of petrol subsidy.

 

He said, “We are not in support of the removal of fuel subsidy at this time. We have said it repeatedly that our refineries should be fixed before taking such a decision that will cause galloping inflation and inflict more hardship on the masses.

 

“The government of President Tinubu should not adopt what is in the transition document handed over to it by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. Someone (Buhari) who for eight years did not remove subsidy is advising a new government to remove it.

 

“That is not fair and should not be adopted. Rather the new government should sit and discuss with marketers and other stakeholders on how to manage the fuel subsidy regime. We now have the Dangote Refinery, but all our refineries are still not working, so we don’t think removing subsidy is the right thing to do now,” Ukadike stated.

 

The IPMAN’s spokesperson, therefore, noted that the independent marketers are committed to working with the new administration to work out solutions that could reduce the harsh impact of subsid removal.