Commuters groan as fuel scarcity bites harder

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By Adewale SanyaoluCommuters across the Lagos metropolis are beginning to feel the heat of the resurgence of fuel queues across filling stations in the state.Findings by Daily Sun across filling stations in Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Ikeja, Ogba and Alausa showed that there has been a drastic drop in the supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol.Some of the fuel attendants who spoke to Daily Sun in separate interviews said last Friday they have been out of stock.With this development, both major and independent fuel marketers have adopted different pricing models, depending on the location. While some are selling for N170 per litre, others are selling at N200, N205 and N210 per litre respectively.Majority of the filling station on the old Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway in the Abattoir area were all out of stock except for the Mobil filling station at Abule Egba which was seen dispensing fuel as at 8am yesterday morning.The fuel queues at the Mobil filling station had taken one lane on the expressway, thus compounding the traffic in the early hours for those commuting to work.The shortage of fuel has led to many passengers being stranded at various bus-stops struggling for the fewer vehicles that are in operation.As usual transporters are using the opportunity to rip-off helpless passengers as they have increased transport fares under the guise of fuel scarcity.A ride from Abule-Egba to Oshodi  which hitherto costs N300 has been increased to N500 while Abule-Egba  to Sango which used to cost N200 has now gone up to N300. At the Apapa depot, tankers have been on queue since Sunday without product to load except for those evacuating Automotive Gas Oil(AGO), popularly called Diesel.The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Clement Isong, disclosed that there are vessels laden with petrol imported by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on the high sea waiting to discharge,  although the cost of hiring daughter vessels for the operation has been discouraging due to its high cost.According to Isong, hiring a daughter vessel to bring the product from onshore to offshore now cost $45,000 per day as against the previous $20,000 per day it used to cost because of the high cost of diesel. This is aside other charges paid including the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) among other charges.Recall that the Executive Secretary of Depots and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Mr.Olufemi Adewole, on Monday warned that the implementation of 0.5 per cent tax on gross turnover by petroleum marketing companies as captured in the Finance Act 2020 will ruin investments.The DAPPMAN heighted fears that by the end of this year; oil marketers may begin to fold up or will have to borrow to pay taxes. ‘‘By the end of this year, the Finance Act 2020, mandates that petroleum marketing companies must begin to pay 0.5 per cent of their gross turnover as tax. It is actually a challenge for us and we are already engaging Government.Adewole said the way out of the looming crises was for the regulator which is the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), to approve a review of marketers’ margin.He lamented that the Finance Act as presently designed has an adverse effect on the business operations of petroleum marketers.The Executive Secretary disclosed that the margins they were getting when fuel sold at N40 per litre is the same they are still getting when it rose to N160 per litre and N200 per litre respectively.



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