Why Nigerians experience fuel scarcity just before Christmas holidays

Why Nigerians experience fuel scarcity just before Christmas holidays

It is no longer news that over the years, Nigerians have experienced fuel scarcity during the weeks leading to the Christmas holidays. Fuel scarcity often results in travellers paying twice the transportation cost to their holiday destination.

In the last five years, fuel scarcity has become a feature of every yuletide holiday, except for 2019.  

Timeline of December fuel scarcity: In 2022, fuel scarcity challenges started popping up in cities like Lagos and Abuja from the beginning of the fourth quarter. It further intensified in early December, with motorists having to buy fuel at N300 per litre from black market traders. 

  • In late November 2021, fuel scarcity challenges emerged. At the time, those who managed to find the commodity paid extra for it.  
  • Recall that in November 2020, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) declared a nationwide strike that impacted fuel availability around the country. The strike was due to a fallout between oil and gas workers and the federal government over pecuniary issues raised by the former.  
  • In 2019, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited implemented some measures to resolve all issues that could lead to supply and distribution disruptions during that year’s Yuletide season. But earlier that year, there was fuel scarcity in cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja.  
  • In December 2018, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN)said that all DAPPMAN member depots will shut down all loading operations beginning from December 9, 2018, until the federal government paid their calculated claims from outstanding fuel subsidy claims. This action also impacted fuel availability in that year.  

Why this keeps happening: The fuel scarcity that has hampered citizens’ productivity in recent years is mostly associated with distribution challenges and not supply. This is according to Bala Wunti, the Chief Upstream Investment Officer (CUIO) at the NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS). 

He stated this during an interview on Arise TV on Monday, December 5.  

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Meanwhile, available data on the daily truck-out of premium motor spirit (PMS) on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) website also shows that as of December 8, the daily petrol truck-out to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Delta states were as follows:

  • Lagos – 12,966,087 litres 
  • Abuja – 2,845,996 litres 
  • Port Harcourt – 3,051,000 litres 
  • Kano – 6,000,966 litres 
  • Delta – 3,213,079 litres 

These figures show that states are not lacking in supply. So, as Wunti mentioned, distribution is where the challenges lie.  

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Challenges faced by Nigerians: Nigerians have alleged that some persons along the value chain are guilty of using the Christmas period to make extra money by limiting availability to end consumers. 

  • In a chat with Nairametrics, an oil marketer who pleaded anonymity said the fuel scarcity challenges in Nigeria are man-made. According to the marketer, many persons along the value chain, including staff of MDAs, look out for ways to cash out from artificial fuel scarcity.  
  • He went further to state that oil marketers have been accused of making profits from the perennial problem, however, oil marketers are falsely accused and the persons driving the fuel scarcity trend are mostly individuals with access to fuel station attendants and management.  

For the record: The following tweets also provide some context into the fuel scarcity situation from the perspectives of Nigerians.  

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Originally Posted By Nairametrics
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