It’s been observed that entrances to many filling stations in Lagos and other parts of the country remained shut to motorists on Sunday following a sharp drop in the supply of petrol to the market.
Findings by newsmen revealed that oil marketers were no longer interested in importing the product mainly because of the rising exchange rate of the dollar to the Naira.
The other factors responsible for the marketers’ action are delayed subsidy payments and rising interests on loans from banks.
An official of a major marketing firm, who declined to have his name in print, said, “I am afraid that we cannot continue to import petrol because it costs more now to do so owing to the recent devaluation of the Naira. The rising amount of petrol subsidy arrears payable to us coupled with the high interests on loans from financial institutions, are still major issues in our hands.”
Another marketer told one of our correspondents that an exchange rate of N226 per dollar was demanded on import duties contrary to the inter-bank exchange rate of N198 posted on the website of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency for the pricing template of PMS approved on February 19, 2015.
The major marketers import close to 60 per cent of petrol consumed in the country while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation imports the balance.
Our correspondents observed on Sunday that the states hit badly by scarcity of petrol were Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Bayelsa, Ondo, Ekiti, Kaduna, Delta, Plateau, Akwa-Ibom. Abuja, the nation’s capital, appeared to be the worst hit by the shortage.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Lagos Zone, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said the depots did not have enough products to serve filling stations across the country.
“If there were enough to go round, tanker drivers, of course, would move products to the areas of need. Nigerians should not be surprised that this is happening now. It is really unfortunate,” he said.