Fuel Scarcity: Weather, Panic buying, other reasons given by Buhari administration officials

File photo of Rowdy NNPC mega filling station as fuel scarcity persist in Benin on Tuesday (19/12/17). 06915/ 19/12/2017/ Igbaugba Ehigimetor/JAU/BJO/NAN

The current fuel scarcity being experienced across Nigeria has persisted for about three weeks despite assurances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

At various times during the scarcity, top government officials have adduced different reasons for the crisis which caused a bleak Christmas celebration across the country.

As the fuel scarcity continues, PREMIUM TIMES highlights some the reasons given so far by officials of the Buhari administration for the development.

PANIC BUYING

At the early onset of the scarcity, the NNPC blamed it on panic buying.

NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, said on December 5 that the queues at filling stations were as a result of panic buying by consumers.

“The fuel queues witnessed in some parts of the country is due to panic buying by motorists. We have assured the people that the NNPC has sufficient stock of petroleum products to last throughout the coming festive season and beyond,” he said.

IT’S THE WEATHER

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, brought a new perspective – at least to many Nigerians – when he said the current weather in the country is partly responsible for the petrol scarcity.

Speaking on December 6 after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja, Mr. Mohammed said the cold harmattan period has led to increased purchase of petrol, thus the scarcity.

“This is winter period. There is always more demand for refined products from petroleum ‎during winter in the colder countries. This is what we are experiencing now,” he said.

NNPC BEING SOLE IMPORTER

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, at a news briefing in Abuja on December 7 said the major cause of the scarcity was shortage in supply of the products, caused by the NNPC being the sole importer of the product.

“The major problem is the gap in terms of volume, because NNPC is the only one importing the product to the country,” he said.

INADEQUATE SUPPLY TO DEPOTS

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday attributed the scarcity to limited supply of petrol to depots across the country.

Mr. Osinbajo spoke during his visit to fuel depots in Lagos where he monitored the loading of trucks to ensure steady supply of petrol to designated filling stations.

“The fuel crisis presently confronting the country is as a result of shortage of supply of fuel to depots across the country,” he said.

“We hope that in the next couple of days, we would be able to end the fuel queues.”

While the federal government officials gave different reasons for the scarcity, an opposition leader, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, had his own theory.

PLOY BY FG TO INCREASE PRICE

Mr. Fayose blamed the federal government for the scarcity, saying it was a ploy by the federal government to increase the price of petrol.

He made this known in a statement on December 17 by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.

“Petrol is scarce across the country because the Federal Government deliberately reduced supply since it is only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC that is importing the product.

“The thinking is that by the time the scarcity persists for like one month, with Nigerians already buying at N200 per litre, the people will jump at it if petrol is increased from N145 to N185 per litre,” he said.

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Lois Ugbede is a junior politics reporter at PREMIUM TIMES. She currently covers some of the nation’s big political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission. Twitter: @ugbedelois


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