Fuel scarcity paralyses economic activities in South-East

Posted by News Express | 14 April 2016 | 3,197 times

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Fuel sells between N200 and N280 per litre in many petrol stations in the South-East of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo, a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), has revealed.

The survey revealed that economic activities were gradually grinding to a halt following the persistent fuel scarcity in the zone.

In Ebonyi, the product is sold at between N250 and N280 per litre in stations owned by the independent marketers in the state.

Correspondents, who monitored the situation in Abakaliki, report that long queues were seen in stations that have the product.

A motorist, Mr John Ibiam, who was waiting to buy the product at the Jezco filling station, described the scarcity in the country as a `national embarrassment’.

“The issue of fuel scarcity in this country has become worrisome and a national embarrassment.

“Nothing justifies the pains that average Nigerians are subjected to every now and then due to incessant hike in the prices of the petroleum product.

“For the past seven or eight months, price of petrol has jerked above the official pump price and risen to as high as N250 and N280 a litre and this is not good for the economy that solely depend on oil.”

Another motorist, Mr Kelechi Anozie, said the situation had posed untold hardship to Nigerians, and urged the Federal Government to urgently look into the problem.

He called for the repairs of the nation's three major oil refineries located in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt as well as issuance of licence to private investors to refine crude oil in Nigeria.

In Enugu State, though there has been an increase in the volume of fuel supply in the metropolis, the product is still sold at between N200 and N220 per litre.

NAN reports that transport fares have increased by over 100 per cent as intra city commercial buses charge between N100 and N150 per drop as against N50 depending on the distance.

A parent, Mrs Nkiru Egwuatu, said she could no longer cope with the situation as she found it difficult to take the children to school as well go to work.

“I spend close to N1,000 everyday to go to work and for school run. How much do I earn as a civil servant. This is becoming unbearable.”

NAN reports that commuters are stranded in various bus stops as very few commercial vehicles ply the road while others sleep at filling stations in search of fuel.

The price of the commodity was between N200 and N220 in Nsukka.

A member of IPMAN, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, said that the persistent high cost was due to the high price of obtaining the product in private fuel depots.

“If government will make the product available in government-owned fuel depots and at approved price; why will any market sell above the regulated price.”

In Imo and Anambra, petroleum product was sold at between N200 and N220 per litre.

Meanwhile, the NNPC Mega stations in Owerri have been under lock and key in the past two weeks without sales to motorists.

The Manager of NNPC Mega station along Owerri- Onitsha Road, Mr Bob Onyejiuwa, told NAN that the station had never sold the product above the official price.

He expressed optimism that the product would soon be available to the station, adding that it would help to ease the stress people were currently undergoing.

The Chairman of Owerri Market Traders Association (OMATA), Mr Kenneth Anyanwu, told NAN that since the fuel crises hit Owerri, traders have continued to record very low patronage from customers.

He said the situation became worse for traders that deal on perishable goods.

Also, the National Vice Chairman of National Union of Road Transports workers (NURTW), Chief Uwado Obieke, regretted the plight of both transporters and passengers.

“It is regrettable that the price of transport fares have continued to go very high and the situation may be worst if the problem is not addressed urgently.”

The Zonal Operational Control of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr Peter Igeh, told NAN in Enugu that the department would clamp down on stations that received the product from government depot and refused to sell at approved prices.

“We are going to start from the outskirt of Enugu preferably in Nsukka area to check stations, who recently received the product at government price and refuse to sell same to the members of the public at the approved rates.

“We have received schedule from government depots in Lagos and we have to go out there and see that our people do the needful for the benefit of all.” (NAN)

•Photo shows fuel queue.

Source: News Express

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