Fuel scarcity is one problem that the Nigerian government has not been able to solve and it keeps recurring.
Nigeria has always experienced fuel scarcity and when you think it’s over, that’s when the queues at the petrol stations start again.
For months now, fuel has been biting hard and Nigerians have been groaning. People spend the whole day queuing for fuel and some buy at it at exorbitant prices.
The fuel scarcity has resulted in suffering, transport fares have increased and businesses are running at a loss.
Here are seven reasons we suffer fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
1. Not enough refineries: We don’t have enough refineries in Nigeria to satisfy the nation’s needs and the few we have are not performing optimally. There are four refineries – two in Port Harcourt, one in Kaduna and the other one in Warri. Nigeria's gasoline consumption is roughly 35-50 million litres per day and the refineries in Nigeria don’t produce up to half of this so the country has to depend on fuel importation despite being one of Africa’s biggest oil exporters.
2. Pipeline vandalism: Pipelines have been repeatedly attacked by vandals and this most of the time affects the supply to consumers. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company said pipeline vandalism was one of its biggest headache in finding a lasting solution to the fuel crisis over the years.
3. Diversion of supplies: A significant volume is being diverted by corrupt officials to neighbouring countries such as Chad and Cameroon. Some marketers have been accused of diverting petrol supplies to areas where it is sold at very high prices. In some instances, they sell off the fuel allocated to them at the depot to independent marketers, who are willing to pay more because they sell above the regulated price.
4. The wide gap between the official USD exchange rate and the parallel market rate in Nigeria: The CBN dollar rate is N197/USD while the black market rate hovers around N325/USD. Fuel is bought at the international market with US dollars and importers have to source for dollars themselves to buy petrol.
5. Inadequate quantity imported: The NNPC lacks the capacity in terms of resources and facilities to handle the entire importation process. Independent marketers have the bulk of the fuel storage and distribution facilities. Most of the time, the scarcity is caused by NNPC’s inability to import enough to meet growing demand of the populace.
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6. Some people benefit from fuel crisis: Some people are actually making money for scarcity of fuel and they would do whatever it takes to make it continue.
7. Sabotage: Marketers have been accused of sabotaging government’s effort to end the fuel crisis in the country. In previous government, the marketers always find a way of getting back at the government for refusing to pay arrears of their subsidy claims. The marketers in a bid to satisfy their selfish desires are willing to sabotage the fuel supply effort being made by the government, not minding if the masses suffer.