Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Sharp-Journal > Editorial > Lack of Blueprint to Eliminate Fuel Scarcity is Killing Nigeria’s Economy

Lack of Blueprint to Eliminate Fuel Scarcity is Killing Nigeria’s Economy

Fuel Scarcity

Last December, Sharp Journal wrote on fuel subsidy removal and fuel scarcity. Since then, the enthusiasm that greeted the arrival of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the hope that fuel scarcity would be nipped in the bud has faded away.

Sharp Journal raised some important measures that the government needed to adopt to solve the issue of fuel scarcity, conclusively. Disappointingly, Mr. Buhari and his Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu does not seem to have a workable blueprint for eliminating fuel subsidy/fuel scarcity. Nigerians are back to square one and are seriously groaning about this terrible situation.

The experience of Nigerians is like jumping from a frying pan to burn in the fire down. The same issue that was recorded during the government of Jonathan is now repeating itself. The current fuel scarcity is one of the worst ever experienced by Nigerians, and, effort to stop the obvious sabotage by oil marketers has proved abortive. The Federal Government is really not helping matters by its lack of foresight to salvage the situation.

Though we cannot excuse the 16 year disastrous rule of PDP in Nigeria, it is advisable that the government of the day should stop the blame game and initiate a reliable blueprint on how to solve the issue of fuel scarcity intertwine with the issue of fuel subsidy popularly encouraged by the oil cabal.

The experience so far since the beginning of President Buhari’s administration has been a terrible one. And the obvious fact is that, the logistic or process of importing refined petroleum products is not properly mapped out which resulted in serious exploitation of Nigerians by oil marketers who were patiently waiting for this time to come.

With the exception of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) owned filling stations and some honest independent marketers, all across the country, the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is simply outrageous and unbearable. Oil marketers are indeed very happy in their continuation to swindle Nigerians, increasing their selling price high above the stipulated N96.6 per litre.

Economically, the effect of fuel scarcity will push up price inflation of goods and services and would also lead to less productivity. 

The reason for this foreseeable suffering was the inability of NNPC to meet the local demand of fuel consumption, which brings us to the old story of fuel subsidy and government unpreparedness to address the fuel importation chain. The NNPC cannot solely handle the importation of fuel for the purpose of local consumption. That is why the participation of independent marketers is needed to complement the inefficiency of NNPC. However, since we are striving to move away from fuel subsidy and solving the issue of fuel scarcity, it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to rise up to the occasion ensuring that fuel shortfall or shortage is not recorded.

The government is tired of paying bills for subsidy in order to save those monies for other developmental purposes, but the government has no measure in exchange, to complement for the exit of independent marketers engaged in fuel importation. This is an obvious dilemma needing a logical conclusion before it escalates beyond control.

What was thought out is having more refineries and getting the existing ones to efficiency, but this submission is indeed a high mountain to surmount by PMB’s administration. His government has simply become lame in addressing the hard-hitting and hard-biting effect of fuel scarcity.

With that said, it is obvious that investors are not eager to invest their hard earned fortune in a business environment like Nigeria, lacking in basic amenities to make their business viable. Definitely there would be investor-apathy from embarking on a capital intensive project like a refinery and coupled with the sabotage coming from the oil cabal, who sees having a functional refinery in Nigeria anathema to their business interests. Some of these oil emperors have oil investments outside the shore of Nigeria, but setting up a refinery in their homeland is an extreme idea. They would decline because of the huge amount of money exploited from Nigerians on a regular basis.

Hence, to properly address this protracted issue of fuel scarcity, the Federal Government should adopt a new modality (blueprint) to thwart saboteurs in the industry, revamp existing refineries, or build new ones. Ideally, we should be progressing in this era of ‘change,’ not grappling with the issue of fuel scarcity. If left unsolved, the macro economy of Nigeria would suffer. Economically, the effect of fuel scarcity will push up price inflation of goods and services and would also lead to less productivity. The government of Buhari can do better than the current situation.

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