Lagos residents are facing a looming fuel crisis as many marketers have shut down their filling stations in the state and its environs. The scarcity, which started gradually last week, has become more widespread as motorists and other users of gasoline struggle to find the product.
According to the report, the scarcity was caused by a reduction in the supply of petrol by NNPC Limited, which is the sole importer of the product in the country. The NNPC Limited reportedly cut down its imports to allow other marketers to participate in the importation, following the deregulation of the downstream sector.
However, most marketers have been unable to import gasoline due to challenges in accessing foreign exchange and market instability. The exchange rate of the naira to the dollar has soared to over N1,000 in the informal market, making it difficult for marketers to source funds for importation.
The situation has also been worsened by the bad roads and high cost of diesel for distribution, which have hampered the movement of petrol from depots to retail outlets. Some marketers have also been accused of hoarding or diverting the product to sell at higher prices.
The scarcity has led to long queues and frustration among motorists, who have to spend hours searching for petrol or buy at exorbitant prices. Some filling stations were selling petrol at between N568 and N590 per litre, far above the official price of N615 per litre.
The scarcity has also affected other sectors of the economy, such as transportation, manufacturing, and power generation, which depend on petrol for their operations. Some commuters have complained of increased fares and reduced services by transport operators, while some businesses have resorted to using alternative sources of energy.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, has assured Nigerians that the scarcity will soon be over as stakeholders are working to resolve the issue.