Nigerians have once again been thrown into a fresh round of acute fuel scarcity and it seems it is not ending anytime soon.
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) disclosed in Abuja yesterday, March 2, that the scarcity of fuel currently being experienced in major cities across the country will persist except federal government acts fast to pay outstanding subsidy claims.
MOMAN is responsible for the importation of about 60 percent of petroleum products consumed in the country.
According to Leadership report, the executive secretary of MOMAN, Olawore Obafemi, who disclosed this, attributed the current fuel scarcity to the non-payment of arrears of subsidy claims and rise in cost which has hindered the marketers from importing petrol into the country since February.
He explained that the federal government had reneged on the payment of the first batch of foreign exchange and interest rate to members, and as a result, marketers had decided not to import fuel as banks were not willing to give them loans as they could not service the ones earlier collected.
He urged Nigerians to remain calm as they would resume importation once the government effects payment, adding that government has promised to pay foreign exchange and interest rate differentials during the week.
“We will start importing once FG pays our foreign exchange, interest rate differential on subsidy.
“Government has also promised to talk to banks to give marketers credit and banks have promised to open letters of credit for us once federal government speaks with them on credit note,” he said.
Obafemi, however, disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria had also shown interest in giving the union’s members Form `M’ to stand as approval letter on foreign exchange, even as he warned members not to take advantage of the situation to hoard or sell products above the approved pump price.
Meanwhile, the executive secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Farouk Ahmed, has said that the problem started with the banks’ reluctance to issue letters of credit to marketers for importation which was compounded by the CBN’s devaluation of the naira.
Ahmed was hopeful that by the end of the week everything will be cleared.
He cautioned users of the product not to resort to panic buying because, according to him, everything would soon return to normal.
The current scarcity has forced Nigerians to queue at various petrol stations for hours and the major political parties have been trading blames.
The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) had accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of being responsible for the fuel crisis.
Earlier, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organization (APCPCO) had blamed the recent fuel scarcity in some parts of the country on the maladministration of the PDP-led government.