+The effects, causes, the losers and gainers
The raging fuel scarcity across the country has put many untold hardship as transport fares have shot through the roof. For the last few weeks, the supply of fuel has been irregular, forcing an increase in pump prices, long queues and a boom for illegal petrol vendors and black marketers.
The strike was embarked upon by the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) coupled with the reported subsidy arrears owed petroleum marketers by the Federal Government running to about N200 billion, which the Federal Government denied.
According to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the queues were not caused by payment issues. She added that the government recently paid N150 billion – N100 billion being the principal owed oil marketers and N56 billion interest and exchange rates differentials.
However, the queues have not been abated as commuters and transporters are groaning under the hardship.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some commuters and transporters on the issue, as well as filling station managers and pump attendants…
TUNJI, station manager, AR Raydeed Oil and Gas (Yaya Abatan, Ogba)
The price of fuel marketers buy from the depot is very high. At the filling station before, whether there is fuel scarcity or not, we sell fuel at the normal price. But the situation right now is so bad that we can’t buy fuel because we don’t want to buy it at a higher price and sell at a higher price.
The last time we had fuel was last week and we sold at N87. Until the Federal Government completes the money they are supposed to pay the marketers, we won’t have enough fuel in the country.
SHADE OJO, pump attendant, Adonai Filling Station (Ogba, Lagos)
The reason for fuel scarcity is the fight between the Federal Government and the fuel marketers which should be resolved urgently. We the pump attendants charge extra for jerry cans because we need extra money. We sell at N100 per litre.
BLESSING NWANKWO, pump attendant, Conoil Filling Station (College Road, Lagos)
We don’t have fuel at the moment because they have not supplied us for about two weeks. The price depends on what the marketers supply before we fix the price.
MAYOWA BALOGUN, station manager, Adonai Filling Station (Aguda, Lagos)
We are selling at N100 per litre and the reason is because the Federal Government did not comply with the demands of the marketers. If you check around, it is not the filling stations that sell fuel. This is because they cannot buy at a very high price.
For some filling stations, they sell at N120 to N150. Every day we settle fight between motorists and jerry can owners because they don’t want to stand on the long queue. Until government settles the marketers, there will be fuel scarcity.
MUA ELIJAH, station manager, Oando Filling Station (Ogba, Lagos)
We sell at the normal price which is N87, but now, we don’t have enough fuel. It is only one pump that is selling fuel. The rest are empty. There will be more scarcity of fuel if the government is not able to meet demands of the marketers. And this might lead to an indefinite strike if they are not fully settled.
We don’t charge extra from the customers. But if the fuel scarcity continues, I think we will increase our pump price.
MRS. OLABISI, fuel attendant, Kotco Filling Station (Akute, Ogun)
We sell fuel at N120 per litre. This is because we do not see enough to buy and the little the marketers sell to us is at a very high rate.
We cannot sell at the normal price because we will not gain from it. Before you buy fuel from us, you have to stand on a very long queue.
IDRIS SALAMI – I bought fuel at Conoil Filling Station. I bought at the normal price that was why there was a very long queue. Talking about extra charges, I used my connection to buy without extra charge.
HABBASS OYETUNDE – Yes, the fare I pay for transport has increased. The difference is about 50 percent. For instance, where I used to pay N70, I now pay N100. It is killing us. I just hope everything returns to normal soon.
Of course, if I don’t leave home earlier, I will get late to the office. On the road, everywhere there is a filling station, there would be traffic gridlock because of the long queues. It is becoming unbearable.
HANANH ADEREMI – I don’t understand what is wrong with this transport people. Do they think we pluck money from trees? The transport fare has increased. Where we pay N100, we now pay N150.
Also, where used to take me like one hour to arrive, now takes about an hour 30 minutes.