Reports have surfaced of the resurgence of fuel queues in certain parts of Lagos and Abuja, sparking concerns about a potential fuel scarcity crisis. The situation has been exacerbated by the closure of several filling stations, either due to the unavailability of the product or its alleged hoarding.
Market players have pointed to the ongoing forex crisis and the deteriorating condition of roads, which have hampered the efficient distribution of fuel across various regions of the country, as the underlying causes for the resurfacing scarcity.
According to observations made by Daily Trust, some filling stations have modified their pump prices to exceed the N600 mark. Notably, the Aso Energy Resources Station in Kubwa Phase 2, Abuja, witnessed a substantial queue with limited functional pumps, selling petrol at an elevated rate of N630 per litre. Similarly, Conoil, situated opposite the NNPC towers in Central Area, Abuja, was dispensing fuel at N623 per litre.
In Lagos, the pump price was found to vary between N568 and N585, with certain stations reportedly charging as high as N650 per litre.
Several stations, including those operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, have been compelled to cease operations, resulting in long queues and price hikes at the operational stations. The scarcity has prompted independent stations to raise their prices above the usual range, with significant stations now retailing fuel at over N568 in the state.
Addressing the situation, the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) attributed the scarcity to the surge in the exchange rate, the deplorable condition of roads, and alleged hoarding practices by some dealers. Clement Isong, the Executive Secretary of MOMAN, emphasized that the challenging business climate has made it unattractive for tanker drivers and dealers to sustain their operations.
Furthermore, the inability to access dollars through official channels has compelled marketers to resort to the black market, intensifying the pressure on the volatile industry.
Debo Ahmed, the representative of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, the necessity for domestic refining to alleviate the supply disruptions. Ahmed expressed optimism about the potential relief the upcoming Dangote Refinery, scheduled for operation in December, could provide the ailing industry.
Amidst the ongoing challenges, industry insiders emphasized the critical role of the dollar in the entire value chain, stressing that the unavailability of the currency significantly impacts the viability of their operations.
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