Fuel Scarcity Grips Nigeria as Citizens Struggle with Soaring Prices

Nigeria faces severe fuel scarcity, with prices skyrocketing and long queues at filling stations, affecting daily life and the economy. The crisis persists despite assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, with oil marketers citing logistics challenges and high international market prices.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Fuel Scarcity Grips Nigeria as Citizens Struggle with Soaring Prices

Fuel Scarcity Grips Nigeria as Citizens Struggle with Soaring Prices

Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, is struggling to cope with a severe fuel scarcity that has left citizens struggling to access petrol and sent prices skyrocketing. The scarcity, which has persisted for over a week, has affected daily life across the country, withblack market pricesranging from N15,000 to N20,000 per 10 liters.

Why this matters: The fuel scarcity crisis in Nigeria has far-reaching implications for the country's economy and citizens' daily lives, highlighting the need for sustainable solutions to address the nation's energy supply. If left unaddressed, the crisis could lead to widespread economic instability and social unrest.

Residents in various states, including Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, and Gombe, are facing the brunt of the crisis. Long queues have become a common sight at the few filling stations that remain open, with many shutting down because of the lack of supply. Independent marketersare selling petrol at between N850 and N1,000 per liter, a significant increase from the N680 per liter price at major marketers' stations.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited had assured consumers that the bottlenecks leading to the petrol supply disruptions had been resolved, but the scarcity persists. Akin Akinrinade, Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Satellite Depot in Lagos, expressed frustration, stating, "Do you blame oil marketers for the current situation? If NNPC gives us products, we will sell them because we are businessmen. We are in this business to make money, so we won't keep products in our tanks if we have."

The fuel scarcity has had a ripple effect on the economy, driving up prices of vital goods and services. According to a report by SBM Intelligence, a geopolitical research firm, transport costs have surged by 77% between January 2023 and March 2024. The price of bread, a dietary staple, has also witnessed a notable uptick of 81% over the same period. The report states, "This surge can be directly linked to the increased operational expenses incurred by transportation providers who must contend with the amplified cost of fuel as a primary input."

The scarcity has been attributed to various factors, includinglogistics challengesand the high landing cost of gasoline at the international market, which currently stands at N847 per liter. Oil marketers have cited issues with smaller vessels to take fuel from larger vessels and bridging claims as contributing factors to the scarcity. Chinedu Ukadike, IPMAN's Public Relations Officer, predicted that the scarcity could persist for an additional two weeks as refineries in Europe undergo turnaround maintenance.

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has urged the federal government to urgently address the lingering fuel scarcity, emphasizing its severe impact on businesses and daily lives. ACCI President, Emeka Obegolu, stated, "The current fuel scarcity is hurting businesses and hampering economic activities. We urge the government to address the root causes of the problem as a matter of priority." Obegolu expressed hope that the Dangote Refinery and other new refineries would help eliminate the fuel scarcity trend and make Nigeria self-sufficient and less reliant on fuel imports.

As Nigerians struggle with the hardships caused by the fuel scarcity, Vice President Kashim Shettima has called for patience. "I implore Nigerians to be patient with President Bola Tinubu's administration as he steers the ship of state through the economic turbulence and storm,"Shettima said. However, for many citizens struggling to make ends meet,patience is wearing thinas the scarcity continues to impact their livelihoods and daily sustenance.

The fuel scarcity crisis has exposed Nigeria's vulnerability to oil market fluctuations and its reliance on fuel imports, despite being Africa's largest oil producer. The government's efforts to address the immediate crisis will involve long-term solutions, such as investing in domestic refining capacity and diversifying the economy, which will be essential in preventing future fuel shortages and ensuring the stability of the nation's energy supply.

Key Takeaways

  • Nigeria faces severe fuel scarcity, with prices skyrocketing to N15,000-N20,000 per 10 liters.
  • The crisis affects daily life, causing long queues and economic instability.
  • Independent marketers sell petrol at N850-N1,000 per liter, up from N680.
  • Fuel scarcity drives up prices of goods and services, including transport and bread.
  • Long-term solutions, such as investing in domestic refining capacity, are needed to prevent future shortages.