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Fuel scarcity looms

23 January 2014, 19:18

Lagos - Nigeria may be heading for fresh rounds of fuel scarcity as oil marketers wait endlessly for the Federal Government to give approval for the importation of petroleum products for this quarter.

The marketers have become increasingly apprehensive as January rounds off without the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA) releasing the approval for marketers to import products.

Obafemi Olawore, Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Lagos on Thursday that the association's members were now on edge over the inability of the PPPRA to release the importation approval.

He said that the delay by the PPPRA to release the approval might cause acute scarcity of products in the near future.

“If we don’t get approval on time, it will affect our ability to import products and this will in turn delay distribution of products nationwide.

“The management of PPPRA should release allocations immediately to avoid products scarcity in the country.

Olawore expressed worry that no marketer had been given allocation approval this quarter.

According to him, the country has limited products in stock and the relevant authorities must do something ``because a stitch in time saves nine.’’

An independent marketer, who pleaded anonymity, also lamented that the nation might be on its way to experiencing acute shortage of fuel, following the inability of government to place order for first quarter importation allocation.

“Available stocks are depleting on daily basis. If drastic actions are not taken to import fuel, the nation will likely witness severe fuel shortage.

A leading marketer, who also spoke on the issue, told NAN that acute fuel scarcity might hit the nation soon.

“We are ending one month into this quarter but nothing seems to be happening, the implication is that Nigeria may be on course to facing fresh rounds of fuel scarcity crisis.

“Supply vessels are off-shore attracting demurrage and there is no inkling on when the approval for importation of products will be given by the PPPRA.

“The downstream is currently on edge and anxiety is mounting among fuel marketers because of the non-release of the approval for first quarter importation,’’ the marketer stated.



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