Monday, 9 May 2011

Fuel queues return to Abuja amid news of petroleum products scarcity

Lingering fuel queues have returned to Abuja amidst news of petroleum products scarcity in the capital city and other northern cities in Kano, Kaduna and Plateau States. The scarcity, which seemed to occur almost overnight since Saturday 30th April, has crippled local businesses because most commuters have been forced to queue up, in most cases overnight, for long hours just to purchase fuel.

No official explanation has been given for the scarcity or by those government agencies in charge of petroleum products distribution including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) and others.

Traders attribute the scarcities now the election has been concluded to the suppliers' inability to secure repayment of their arrears from NNPC or credit terms to enable them to obtain new supplies. Nigeria is currently insisting on more than 400 days credit before payment.

There are speculations that the fuel crisis might also be as a result of the post-election violence that occurred in Northern States and the effect of the consecutive public holidays and election restriction of movement, which affected the transport of petroleum products from the Lagos ports to other parts of the country and especially Northern Nigeria.

Another contributory factor for the fuel shortage is the news making the rounds that the Federal Government is set to increase fuel price from the current price of N65 per litre. There are speculations that fuel stations are purposely hoarding their current stocks so that they can make more profit, if or when the government does indeed increase the cost of fuel.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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