Fuel scarcity worsened in Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory and other parts of the country on Tuesday, resulting in motorists spending hours at filling stations.
For oil marketers, the solution to the worsening fuel queues across the country is for the Federal Government to approve an increase in the pump price of the commodity.
Although some marketers had already raised the price of fuel in their outlets, they admitted that the move had not been approved by the government, noting that dealers could be sanctioned for selling above the regulated rate.
The approved pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, is N165/litre, but marketers are currently kicking against this rate, saying that it is no longer sustainable going by the global crisis in the energy sector.
A retail outlet located in the Kubwa Village Market, Abuja, dispensed petrol at N195/litre to motorists and still had queues.
Heavy fuel queues were seen in the few filling stations that sold petrol at the approved rate on Tuesday. Some of them included: the NNPC close to Gwarimpa on the Zuba-Kubwa expressway, Total filling station opposite the headquarters of NNPC, Nipco filling station on Zuba expressway, among others.
“The solution to this crisis is to increase petrol price and have it approved because the cost of diesel used in transporting these products to retail stations has risen from about N250/litre a few months ago to around N850/litre currently,” the Deputy National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Zarma Mustapha, told one of our correspondents.
The IPMAN official explained that the widespread queues in Nigeria were related to the global energy crisis that had dragged on for about four months since the Ukraine/Russia war started.
“Because of that crisis, the prices of crude have increased astronomically and Russia, being the largest producer of diesel globally, is inaccessible. So, people are not having access to purchase diesel, knowing full well that our refineries are not working,” Mustapha stated.
He added, “We solely depend on imported diesel, so based on that, the scarcity of diesel has become worse, which is the major product we use in transporting fuel to filling stations.
“The marketers have engaged the government in trying to see how best we can cushion the effects of the rise in diesel price. But, unfortunately, the price has continued to rise and based on that the government made an upward review of the bridging claims.”
He noted that despite the little upward reviews of the bridging rates in May and June this year, the adjustments were still not enough to cover the cost of transporting products.
Mustapha, however, stated that marketers were engaging the Federal Government, adding that it had been confirmed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had enough stock.
The spokesperson for NNPC, Garba-Deen Mohammed, told our correspondent that the national oil firm was working out something with respect to the development and promised to revert. He, however, had yet to revert up till the time this story was filed in.