INSIDEMAINLAND– The fuel scarcity deepened further in Lagos, yesterday, with several filling stations shutting their gates to motorists while the few that opened had long queues of vehicles.
The NNPC (former Oando) road along the Alausa Secretariat road was closed to motorists while the same thing could be seen at the Total filling stations in Ojota and Palm Grove, Lagos Mainland.
Although Heyden Filling Station in Ilupeju sold the commodity, there was a long line of vehicles in queues waiting to purchase the product.
Reacting to the development, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (lPMAN) blamed it on the increasing difficulty in sourcing the commodity.
The agency’s National Operations Controller, Mike Osatuyi, explained that most of his members are currently unable to source the commodity due to a supply shortage that has persisted.
Furthermore, he claimed that getting petrol to members’ filling stations from depots now costs as much as N200 per litre in some cases.
“This is a tragic development.” Some of my members are now paying as much as N200 per liter to buy petrol from the depot, which includes the cost of transportation and other fees. So, how much do you think we’ll sell at the pump in this situation?” he asked rhetorically.
Osatuyi maintained that the fuel situation is unlikely to improve unless the government finds a long-term solution to supply and cost issues.
One way to address this is to implement total deregulation of the oil industry’s downstream sector.
“Total deregulation remains the best solution to ending fuel scarcity. The deregulation of the downstream sector remains the only potent and lasting solution to this scarcity. But the cost implication of the policy will make the price of petrol too expensive for Nigerians, as deregulation will shift the burden from the government to users of the product,” Osatuyi told The Nation, adding that payment of subsidy is no longer sustainable. He urged Nigerians face reality now to avoid the unpalatable experiences that are usually the fallout of scarcity.
Subsidies, according to Osatuyi, kill efficiency in the procurement and supply chain of petrol business operations and deprive the government of significant revenue. Furthermore, he claimed that subsidies do not allow for competition, which he believes is why the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has retained its monopoly as the sole importer, manager, and distributor of petrol in the country.