#Editorial

Unending Fuel Crisis

FUEL crisis is back again and Nigerians have resumed another tale of long queues at petrol stations. They are now faced with hardship in getting the essential commodity. Unscrupulous elements have also taken advantage of the situation. Major marketers who are getting the commodity are diverting bulk of what they get to independent marketers who in turn sell at exorbitant rates to citizens. Nigerians are now buying fuel as high as N1,000 to N1,200 per litre. Also, commercial drivers have seized the opportunity, they now charge high fares, at times double of what they were charging before the scarcity. This has resulted in increased prices of goods and services.

MANY  vehicle owners have dropped their vehicles and have resorted to trekking. Some school children also trek long distances before getting to their schools, forcing some people to call for the shutting down of schools for the situation to get better. To worsen the matter, people are thrown into total darkness because they can’t get fuel to power their generators and we know Nigeria with its tale of epileptic power supply. Nigerians are now finding it difficult to concentrate on other things and now spend substantial amount of their income on fuel. The truth is that the people are inconvenienced and frustrated.

AS we speak, authorities concerned have not been able to tell Nigerians the cause of the scarcity. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) continues to reassure citizens that there is enough fuel, yet the situation gets worse on daily basis leaving Nigerians to speculation. It was rumoured sometime that marketers were afraid that the price would come down and refused to lift the product. Some attributed it to logistics problem saying that vessels bringing fuel had delay in berthing at the Port and said things will improve in a matter of days; yet the story has not changed.

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EVEN  with the 15 days emergency fuel supply which the federal government said it has begun to arrest the situation, the long queue has not abated neither has anyone been able to enter any petrol station to buy at the normal price without having to queue for hours if not days. It is important that government come out clean and tell Nigerians exactly what happened.

Despite being a major oil-producing country, Nigeria continues to struggle with frequent fuel shortages, long queues at petrol stations, and skyrocketing fuel prices. Nigeria as the largest oil producing country in Africa cannot boast of one functional refinery in the country. It exports its crude oil to be refined outside the country and imports refined products for home consumption. African countries like Angola, Egypt, Libya, amongst others that do not have the oil deposit that Nigeria has all have refineries not to talk of oil giants like the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and so on. Recently, the federal government assured Nigerians that the Port Harcourt refinery will commence work but up till now, nothing has been said about that.

FOR us in  The Hope, it is high time government found a lasting solution to the perennial problem of petrol scarcity because of its impacts on the Nigerian economy. Businesses suffer from increased operational costs, transportation becomes more expensive, and the cost of goods and services skyrockets, leading to inflation and reduced purchasing power for consumers. The uncertainty and unpredictability of fuel supply also deter investors from setting up operations in the country, hindering economic growth and development.

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FOR  a fact, government needs to put in place more functional refineries because we cannot continue to rely on other nations for supply. Government can also privatize the refineries in the country to serious investors. For example, what Dangote refinery is doing with diesel that brought down the price can also be done with petrol so that Nigerians can heave a sigh of relief permanently on the issue of petrol scarcity.

GOVERNMENT must ensure that corruption and mismanagement in the oil industry is nipped in the bud because they also play a significant role in exacerbating the fuel crises. The lack of transparency and accountability in the sector has led to inefficiencies, diversion of resources, and a lack of investment in critical infrastructure. This has further strained the already fragile fuel supply chain and perpetuated the cycle of shortages.

ALSO, government should ensure regular supply of electricity since it can reduce the number of people consuming petrol. For example, barbers, hair dressers, tailors, welders and even some factories may not need to buy fuel if there is regular supply of electricity. It should also put in place other means of transportation like train and vehicles that do not use petrol.

THE government must prioritize the welfare and well-being of its citizens by tackling the fuel crisis head-on and implementing lasting solutions that will provide a stable and reliable fuel supply for the country. The time for excuses and temporary fixes is over, it is time for action and accountability.

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Unending Fuel Crisis

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