The familiar fuel queues have gradually resurfaced in major cities across the country with no official government explanation on the reasons behind the latest scarcity of petroleum products across the country,
The latest crisis is coming on the heels of President Buhari’s trip to the Arabian countries of Saudi Arabia and Qatar with hopes of finding solutions to the rapidly falling oil prices.
In Lagos, almost all the fuel stations shut their gates as staff complained of no stock while there were chaotic scenes in the few ones which has stock. some of the few ones who had stock had resorted to selling above the regulated pump price of 86.50 naira.
The NNPC have refused to release an official statement on the cause of the latest round of scarcity, they however assured that they were doing everything possible to ensure petrol is available in every part of the country.
Investigations also revealed that , not be unconnected with the corporation’s alleged delay in signing an oil swap agreement with some major marketers and refineries outside the shores of the country.
Despite meeting held with NNPC officials in Abuja and London over the past month,with the promise of quickly moving vessels with petrol to Nigeria. Negotiations has taken longer than expected, leaving a gap in imports.
NNPC said it opted for “the more efficient Direct Sale-Direct Purchase (DSDP) alternative, which allows for direct sale of crude oil by the corporation as well as direct purchase of petroleum products from credible international refineries.”
The corporation explained that it opted for this position after “evaluation exercise of pre-qualified bidders revealed that most of the 44 companies earlier shortlisted for the next stage of the tender process only had affiliations to refineries abroad, a situation which introduces toll on the value chain.”
The NNPC got approval to import 75 per cent of the country’s petrol needs, while the major and independent marketers got the remaining 25 per cent import permit.
The current situation has also been made worse by the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) policy on forex, that allegedly makes it more difficult for them to import the 25 per cent slot. An independent marketer said the group had not been able to import fuel partly due to the inability to source forex. “We depend on NNPC to get product and it is like the corporation is finding it hard to meet the petrol need of the country. We have always said that NNPC alone cannot take full responsibility of fuel import and nobody listened to us. The government needs to encourage others by providing an appropriate policy which will protect us to import,” the marketer said.
Meanwhile, Nigerians are waiting for positive results from President Buhari’s recent trip to the Arabian gulf. the president had used his trip to campaign for the stabilisation of oil prices among OPEC members.
Buhari said: “As members of OPEC and Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), our relations in the areas of oil and gas, which our two nations heavily rely on, need to be enhanced and coordinated for the benefit of our people.
“The current market situation in the oil industry is unsustainable and totally unacceptable. We must cooperate both within and outside our respective organisations to find a common ground to stabilise the market, which will be beneficial to our nations.’’
if the oil prices are stabilise , it is expected that the country would earn more from its oil receipts. this is expected to help the present government with additional revenue in drive to revamp the economy.
- Olawale Makanjuola