Petrol scarcity has resurfaced in Lagos and its surrounding areas, as many oil marketers have closed their filling stations to motorists and consumers. This situation follows a recent fuel scarcity observed in Abuja and its environs, which was attributed to poor road conditions and high diesel distribution costs by oil marketers.
Independent and major oil marketers in Lagos have temporarily ceased operations, leaving NNPC Limited as the sole supplier of petroleum products in most areas of Lagos.
Despite fuel deregulation, other operators have been unable to import petrol due to market instability and a lack of foreign exchange, which is trading at more than N1,000 per dollar in the informal market.
Stakeholders, including the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), have been taking measures to enable oil marketers to access foreign exchange at a rate that does not disrupt the current fuel price.
In Abuja, many major marketers have raised their pump prices from N615 per liter to N625 per liter.
The shutdown of some NNPC-owned portals that issue authority to lift products to marketers and the dependence on NNPC as the sole importer of PMS has created a supply chain gap, contributing to the ongoing scarcity.
High crude oil prices and exchange rates have negatively impacted depot owners, making it difficult for them to secure loans due to high interest rates. This has resulted in some depots being deserted.
The return of petrol scarcity in Lagos and other areas highlights the challenges faced in maintaining a steady and affordable fuel supply in Nigeria. Addressing these issues, including access to foreign exchange for importers, will be essential to prevent future fuel shortages and ensure stable pricing for consumers.
Chinedu Okoronkwo, President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, reinstates that steps are being taken to address the situation.
He stated, “Stakeholders have been meeting, and measures have been taken to enable oil marketers to access foreign exchange at a rate that will not disturb the current price of the product.”