Commuters and motorists are lamenting as the scarcity of petrol bites harder across the country, Daily Trust reports.
Findings reveal that a litre is sold for as high as N600 at the parallel or ‘black’ market in Abuja instead of between N162 and N165.
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In Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt, it costs between N250 and N400 even as many passengers were stranded as commercial transporters increased fares by up to 150 per cent.
Daily Trust recalls that queues at filling stations got worse since last week when the news of adulterated fuel spread across the nation.
It was learnt that about 100 million litres of adulterated Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was reportedly supplied to Nigeria, a development that prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to order for a probe.
The Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director of NNPC Ltd, Mallam Mele Kyari, had confirmed last week that NNPC could restore sanity in the supply and distribution chain but this has remained elusive.
Fuel scarcity may affect inflation – NBS
The Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Simon Harry, said on Tuesday that the fuel crisis in the country could affect the inflation figure of February if not tamed.
Dr Harry, at a press briefing, noted that the scarcity would create an artificial shock in the economy that would see an increase in costs of goods and services.
“Whether we like it or not, transporters will be taking advantage of the situation, thereby increasing the cost of transportation.
“As you are bringing your commodities to the market for sale, you will be thinking of adding some amount on the selling cost so that you will be able to recover the cost of transportation.
“So that gives us a negative signal that is capable of affecting not just inflation rate, but also other macro-economic variables such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and even the unemployment rate,” he said.
Queues have continued to grow as some petroleum marketers admitted scanty loading of the product from depots.
Commuters in Abuja were stranded and expressed dismay during interviews with our reporters on Tuesday. They asked NNPC and other stakeholders to tell Nigerians the real problem.
Black marketers who sold the product in jerry-cans remained the easily accessible suppliers. They sold at between N500/litre and N600/litre, depending on location and the customer’s bargaining power.
It was observed that most filling stations along Kubwa, Berger, Wuse and other satellite areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were not dispensing the product to motorists.
From Kubwa in Abuja to Zuba in Niger and Mararaba in Nasarawa, among other locations, hundreds of commuters were seen stranded at bus stops while others trekked.
“We thought that Nigeria has gone past this stage, unfortunately here we are again. Yesterday, I had to pay N500 from Area 1 to Kubwa, which ordinarily should not cost more than N250,” a commuter, Omobolaji said.
Bolt and UBER drivers have also officially increased their charges.
Activities hampered in Lagos
The current scarcity of petrol in Lagos State is taking a toll on residents with traffic on the LASU-Egbeda Expressway created by queues at the few stations dispensing the product.
Petrol was sold at the normal rate at NNPC fuel stations yesterday while other stations sold for between N180 and N200. However, in some areas of Lagos, a litre was sold for between N200 and N250.
At the Alaba Rago area of Ojo, a hawker, Abdullahi Adamu, sold a litre for N250. “Stations with petrol sell at night. At times they open to buyers like us around midnight. The extra money we put is for the trouble we went through searching for petrol,” he said.
In Kano, vehicles along major streets of the metropolis were fewer yesterday, leaving many residents and commuters stranded.
While many filling stations were closed, the few operating had queues of cars, tricycles, motorcycles and also individuals who thronged them trying to get fuel.
Despite the challenges of waiting for hours to get fuel, some of the filling stations providing the service had increased their pump price, selling for as high as N200 per litre.
Malam Audu Kurum, a commuter, lamented how the fuel scarcity has upset his routine.
He said, “I was in the filling station from morning to early evening on the long queue.”
Also, Abdullahi Muhammad, a tricycle rider lamented how he had to buy fuel at N190 per litre at one of the fuel stations.
Other filling stations visited were littered with jerry cans belonging to black marketers who sold the product for between N300 and N400 per litre.
A customer, Abubakar Sadeeq said, “Some filling stations preferred selling to black marketers because of the commission they get from them.”
The scarcity was also felt in Rivers State where vehicular queues had returned to many fuel stations, especially in Port Harcourt with petrol selling at N180 per litre.
1bn litres in stock, 2.3bn arriving – NNPC
In reaction to the worsening petrol scarcity nationwide, NNPC Ltd said it had over one billion litres of petrol in stock while over 2.3 billion litres would arrive at the ports soon.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Group Executive Director, NNPC Downstream, Adeyemi Adetunji, said the company understood the current fuel supply disruptions in many parts of the country.
“To address the situation, over 2.3 billion litres will arrive between now and the end of February 2022. This will restore the sufficiency level above the national target of 30 days,” he said.
“To accelerate PMS distribution across the country, NNPC has commenced 24 hours operations at its depots and retail outlets,” he also said.
By Simon E. Sunday, Faruk Shuaibu, Seun Adeuyi (Abuja), Abubakar Akote (Minna), Salim U. Ibrahim, Sadiq Adamu (Kano), Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt) & Eugene Agha (Lagos)
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