By Sebastine Obasi & Michael Eboh
ABUJA— The fuel crisis took a dramatic turn for the worse, yesterday, as massive queues were seen in almost all the petrol stations selling the products in Abuja.
Also, some oil marketers, who spoke to Vanguard, blamed the prolonged scarcity on the insincerity of the Federal Government and called on Nigerians to expect a further worsening of the situation in the days ahead.
This was after a slight improvement was recorded few days after the Senate approved the supplementary budget which was to be used mainly for payments of subsidy claims to oil marketers.
Specifically, over the weekend, light queues were recorded in some petrol stations in Abuja, while most of the petrol station did not record any queue. But the situation worsened, yesterday, as the queues returned with only a few petrol stations in town selling the product
Some marketers who spoke to Vanguard blamed the renewed intensity of the crisis on the fact that they are yet to receive payments for their subsidy claims, a situation that had made it difficult for them to purchase the product.
Specifically, one of the marketers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, wondered what is delaying the payment of the claims, while he accused the Federal Government of not showing concern for the plight of Nigerians.
The marketer disclosed that Nigerians should expect tougher days ahead, stating that if the subsidy claims are eventually paid, it would take days for oil marketers to access the funds, place order for the products, get the consignment and start distributing the products to all the nooks and crannies of the country.
He said: “Nigerians should hold the Federal Government responsible for the sufferings they are currently passing through. This government was aware of outstanding subsidy claims from their first day in office, but they had to wait for six months, until Nigerians could no longer bear the suffering in silence, before they took any action.
Senate to engage CBN to fast track FOREX for oil
However, the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) said it will engage the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to fast track the availability of foreign exchange to enable marketers import petroleum products, so as to ease off the continuing scarcity.
The Committee Chairman, Uche Ekwunife, stated this during the committee’s visit to depots in Apapa, Lagos. Her pronouncement came as marketers said that bad roads and infrastructural decay have continued to hamper their movement from the depots to different parts of the country.
“We will make sure the relevant agencies do the needful to enable marketers get the issuance on time so as make logistic arrangement for importation of the products. As for foreign exchange, we have to engage the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to fast track the availability of foreign exchange. The CBN should us why the marketers will not have access to import the product as at when due,” she said.