•FG cuts petrol supply 22% to 65.24m litres per day, from 79.53m litres
•Says it can’t intervene in rising cost of diesel, aviation fuel
By Udeme Akpan, Energy Editor, Ediri Ejoh, Obas Esiedesa & Joseph Oso
LAGOS—Commuters were, yesterday, stranded in Lagos, Abuja, Oyo and some other states, as the ongoing fuel crisis bites harder in the country.
The scarcity, which started in Abuja about three weeks ago, crept into Oyo and Lagos last weekend.
Vanguard gathered yesterday that the latest scarcity was caused by a cut in the supply of petrol by 22 per cent to 65.24 million litres per day on June 20, 2022, from 79.53 litres per day in May.
This, coupled with the inability of operators to move available product from depots to their retail outlets because of the high cost of diesel, now going for N820 per litre, culminated in the present shortage of fuel.
Consequently, the shortage, first noticed on Saturday on the outskirts of Lagos, has spread to the metropolis, leaving long queues at filling stations.
The emergence of black markets was also noticed at some locations, including Ikorodu road, where operators sold the product at between N200 and N300 per litre.
Consequently, transporters have shifted the high cost to commuters in form of high fares in Lagos and its environs.
The scarcity of the product caused long queues of vehicles in search of the product, as commuters remained stranded at bus stops in different parts of Lagos.
A commuter, who pleaded anonymity, said: “I usually pay N300 from Ketu to Mile 2; I am surprised that the fare has been increased to N500 this morning because of the fuel shortage.”
The situation is not different in Abuja, Oyo, Ogun and some other states in the country.
Situation has worsened —IPMAN, others
Speaking with Vanguard on the issue yesterday, the National Operations Controller, IPMAN, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, attributed the present scarcity to inadequate supply, adding that the situation had worsened because its members had not been lifting the product.
“Also, it should be noted that we get the product at N163 per litre and sell to motorists and other users at between N180 and N200 per litre.
“Moreover, the high price of diesel, which currently costs N820 per litre, has compelled us to spend between N500,000 and N800,000 to take a tanker of product from Lagos and Ibadan respectively.
A major marketer, who preferred anonymity, said marketers were as a result of the limited stock of the product, doing their best to ensure the product was available to consumers.
Similarly, a depot owner, who pleaded anonymity, said: “We are not hoarding the product. We will continue to open our facilities for lifting.”
Prices of diesel, aviation fuel surge further
Meanwhile, the price of diesel has risen from about N600 to N820 per litre, while that of aviation fuel rose to N714, from N670 per litre, to further compound the current scarcity of premium motor spirit or petrol.
Recall that marketers had listed the current high price of diesel as one of the reasons militating against the capacity to transport the product across the country.
FG can’t intervene in rising cost of diesel, aviation fuel —Sylva
However, the Federal Government, in the face of this, said yesterday it was not in a position to intervene to bring down the price of diesel and aviation fuel, saying the prices of both products were deregulated.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who stated this in Abuja, explained that the prices of both products which were imported, being impacted by foreign exchange rate.
He said: “It is not within the purview of the government to fix the prices at all. And, of course, the actual issue is also the foreign exchange. People cannot access foreign exchange to import this.
”For the time being, NNPC has been the main importer of this product but what we are trying to do is to democratise the importation so that aviation fuel users should be able to access foreign exchange and be able to import this product.
“It’s not a supply issue at all. It’s just a global problem. You know that the problem in Ukraine and Russia has actually exacerbated the rise in prices; it is not in Nigeria alone.
”The high cost of diesel is also because of the same reason and these are not subsidised commodities, they are deregulated commodities, so it is not within the purview of the government to intervene in the prices.”