Sunday, November 8

Fuel Scarcity: No solution after ₦413 billion subsidy approval

Though the recent fuel scarcity which hit the country a few days ago seems to be coming to an end as queues are beginning to reduce in filling stations following the immediate payment of ₦413 billion outstanding subsidy claims to oil marketers.

According to Vanguard, the payment was said to facilitate importation of petroleum products to ease scarcity, which has become a recurring crisis, especially in the last quarter of every year. But the situation at Apapa depots where petrol is often loaded from and distributed to other parts of the country was a different scenario entirely.

Some buyers at the depots, who spoke with Vanguard, expressed displeasure with the challenges they face in getting products from the depots, even when there is no scarcity. Madam Lawal (surname withheld), in a chat with Sunday Vanguard said, “Getting the products from the depots is sometimes very difficult, even where there is no scarcity in the country. Sometimes my truck stays for days before being loaded. Often, some of us after spending days at the depots buy from third parties at exorbitant rate, instead of returning without the products.”

According to the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Mr. Femi Olawore, government should fully deregulate the downstream sector and stop controlling shares in the refineries. “The plants should be given to the private sector for prudent management.

"Now, we hear that the refineries are being maintained by local engineers, which is what one has always agitated for, that our engineers have the skills and capability to maintain the refineries, but the issue has always been ownership of the plants. For instance, of all the refineries in the US, none is controlled by government. Over 120 refineries are privately controlled. So, it sounds very funny when people challenge the statement that government has no business in business”, he said.

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