By Abdulwahed Omar
Since the last few weeks when scarcity of petroleum products at sale stations became noticeable, workers and the Nigerian people have experienced excruciating hardship and trauma with incoherent excuses from marketers and ostensible helplessness from the Federal government as well as relevant agencies responsible to rectify the deplorable situation.
The scarcity of the product and long hours at fuel stations in queues have clearly slowed down productivity and its attendant effect on service delivery and production within the economy.
While importers claim the unnecessary delay in obtaining import approvals from the Federal Government, which enables them import the products early enough to meet up with public demands, is the cause of the scarcity; the NNPC insists the products are available, but the marketers are hoarding products to deliberately increase prices.
The recent announcement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC that it has supplied 50 million litres of fuel to marketers and intensified its monitoring exercise to check hoarding of the product has not ameliorated, but heightened the sufferings of Nigerians as prices have continued to skyrocket with a litre of fuel selling between N500 – N800 in the parallel market.
Assurances by the NNPC notwithstanding, the tirade and buck passing between the corporation and marketers indicate an attempt to deliberately inflict hardship on Nigerians so as to accept increase in fuel prices. We hope this is not the case, as the Labour Movement will resist any attempt to further impoverish the working people with increase in fuel prices.
It is bad enough that our country have to be importing products it produces, and scandalous that government have not been able to fix the rots in the petroleum industry despite promises publicly made by successive governments between 1999 and now.
We believe the government can do better by immediately bringing supplies of these products to its normal status because the economy may be halted soon should the scarcity continue.
Nigerians can only hold the Federal Government responsible for the scarcity and not the marketers. We didn’t elect marketers to govern us. Government must take full responsibility for the scarcity and take decisive steps to restore normalcy urgently.
By Abdulwahed Omar