News

May 6, 2024

Employers, Labour angry over unending fuel scarcity

Fuel Scarcity

•Lament loss of productive man-hour

•Decry disruption of business operations, increased operational costs

•Demand immediate action to normalise supplies

By Victor AhiumaYoung

Private sector employers in Nigeria yesterday decried the unending scarcity of the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, commonly known as petrol across the country, saying ongoing disruption of businesses across diverse sectors, escalating transportation and logistical bottlenecks have progressively led to increased operational costs, among others.

The employers, under the platform of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, expressed concern at the persistent queues for petrol at most filling stations in the country, amid dwindling productivity and economic activities.

Speaking in Lagos, the Director-General, Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, said:  “Like a sore that has refused to heal, the recurrent issue of fuel scarcity has reared up its ugly head again, notwithstanding the removal of fuel subsidy.

”The fuel subsidy removal among other things was supposed to liberalize the market and ensure free flow of the product. The ongoing scarcity, with attendant loss of productive man hours as a result of endless hours spent at filling stations defies logic.

”The ongoing disruption of businesses across diverse sectors, escalating transportation and logistical bottlenecks has progressively led to increased operational costs.

“Notwithstanding the recent assessments by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and petroleum stakeholders, which identified   panic buying and unethical practices as primary contributors to the ongoing fuel crisis, there is the urgent need for coordinated action, proposing strategic interventions to address the fuel scarcity and fortify organizational resilience.

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“We call for heightened collaboration among the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, petroleum marketers, and other stakeholders to optimize fuel distribution and mitigate supply chain disruptions.

NLC

Reacting to NECA’s worries, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, through the Head of Information Unit, Benson Upah, said:  “We are shocked by the continued fuel shortage across the country. The federal government or the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPC Ltd, is yet to offer any satisfactory explanation for what is happening.

”It is not good enough. What has been going on is from panic buying of petrol by Nigerians to panic storage of the product and from panic storage of petrol to its inherent consequences.

“Much more worrying is its effect on productivity and production. As NECA has pointed out, the long man-hour spent on queues, production disruption with the long time effects are of serious concerns to us. We call on the government through the NNPC Ltd to ensure immediate normalcy.”

ASSBIFI

Also reacting, the President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, Olusoji Oluwole, said: “Mr. Oyerinde’s statement is a proactive one that may become a reality in the very near future.

”This is very possible, especially in the SME sector that is dependent on alternative source of power due to unavailable power from the grid. 

”Fuel scarcity will lead to a shutdown for them and disengagement of workers who are paid daily or weekly. Eventually it will come to larger organizations. Also, productivity and efficiency will be negatively impacted, with a ripple effect on the already battered economy.”