The scarcity of Read
Kerosene product which is daily used to power stoves for the preparation of meals in most Nigerian homes has become a nightmare to most housewives and other users of the product across the nation.
The product is hardly found in the filling stations and amongst the few selling it the price skyrockets to N220.00 as against the recently official price of N130 per litre pegged by the Federal Government.
As a result of this ugly situation most homes who rely on the product for preparation of food for their families and to feed their lanterns, especially at this present era of epileptic public supply of electricity, resort to roadside hawkers where the price is even higher.
Amongst 21 filling stations visited by our correspondent in Port Harcourt, only three had the product to sell and customers buy at N220 and above against the N130 recently fixed by the Federal Government.
At Oando filling station, along Ikwerre Road, the attendant said that had for over three months, they have not got Kerosene to sell to customers.
The attendant who pleaded anonymity said, myy brother, even myself selling in a filling station, I find it difficult to get kerosene for my family use. Whatever is the reason behind the scarcity is what I cannot explain. But the reality is that most filling stations don’t have kerosene supply from the depot”.
A housewife, Chidinma Okere, who lives in Diobu told The Tide that for the past six months, she had stopped going to filling stations to look for kerosene because “each time I go they tell me, there is no kerosene”.
“The only option left for me is to rely on the street hawkers for purchase at skyrocketed price of N250.00 and above per litre,” she noted.
Okere explained that the issue of scarcity and attendant high price of kerosene has become the biggest challenge confronting housewives and most others who use the product as source of fire to prepare meals daily for their families.
“The price of gas has gone high, the electricity supply is hardly seen. Tell me what the government people want us to do in this kind of situation”, she said.
The situation appears to be more serious in the hinterland as most users of the product rely on crude sources of energy which provide alternative sources to kerosene.
A teach in a primary school in Mba Community in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State Mary Amakolonwa, told our correspondent that, “instead of using kerosene stove, I now use firewood to cook my meals”.
Amakolonwa explained that the high price of the product which has gone far above the purchasing power of the common housewife has pushed up the demand for firewood resulting in high price.
“A bunch of firewood which sellers beg you to buy at N150.00 few months ago goes for N250.00 today”, she said explaining that a bunch hardly serves a large family for more than one day.
The use of firewood was discouraged by the Federal Ministry of Environment which few years ago was initiating a cleaner energy project that requires cheap cooking gas as a way of saving the environment from pollution and protection of ecology.
But with the negative impact of the Kerosene product scarcity and high price, an estimated 30 million homes that use kerosene are today resorting to other alternatives most of which endanger the environment.
Investigation by The Tide revealed that the major cause of kerosene scarcity hinges around the complexity in getting foreign Exchange (FOREX) by the petroleum products marketers.
A source from the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) told The Tide that most of its members have not imported kerosene for several months because of the difficulties in accessing Forex.
“You know that NNPC is now the major importer with the major marketers called MOMAN. I as a marketer am not prepared to go through the hurdles involved in importation of kerosene”, said the source.
The source who pleaded that his name should not be mentioned, revealed that IPMAN has however, been assured of FOREX by the Federal Government to enable members import products.
“How feasible this Federal Government promise will be is not what anybody or member of IPMAN can guarantee you. However let us hope that government on its side will live up to its promise”.
The National President of IPMAN, Comrade Chinedu Okoronkwo had two weeks ago also said that the association was partnering with some major stakeholders in the oil industry to import kerosene.
The association’s boss who noted that the hardship being faced by the masses on kerosene was as a result of scarcity assured that the body had got licence to import both kerosene and diesel to ease the hardship.
A housewife in Diobu Mrs Celine Johnson, views the scarcity of kerosene as an act of sabotage to Nigerians and accused the Federal Government of either not being proactive or insensitive to what concerns the ordinary Nigerian.
“How really can you imagine that ordinary kerosene will also be so scarce that a poor woman would be made to pay over N200 to buy a litre in a country so blessed with huge deposits of crude oil?
“If the government actually cares for us, having known that the refineries are dead, they should have known within government plans the volume of the products the masses use and import it so that we are saved from this horror”, she said, noting that it was because government do not care about the masses that voted them into power.
“I have electric system I use for preparing my family meals, but that I can’t use and have not used for the past six months because the so called public supply of electricity is an issue beyond everybody. The gas has become another huddle because it is also scarce and very costly.
“I beg the government people to please consider what we are passing through. They should not be telling us about how much they are stealing at the National Assembly, NNPC, other Federal and State agencies, they should please give us kerosene because we are helpless”, she remarked.
Another respondent, Clarkson Ebi, also blamed the government for the situation, noting that the government has the capacity to change situation but appear not to be ready to do so.
“I heard recently that Federal Government has hiked kerosene price to N130.00 per litre and if you had gone to the filling stations, you hardly find the product to buy and amongst the one or two filling stations that are selling, they sell above N220.00 how many of them have been arrested by the government for contravening the directive?
“Government is only interest in fixing price but to get up from the seat and find out what happens in the field is not considered important because it concerns the poor masses”, Ebi said.
Ebi commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for setting up a committee to monitor petroleum products in the state, saying the government took a laudable step.
He however urged the governor to prevail or mandate the committee to ensure that products meant for the state were not diverted to other states or outside Nigeria.
A public analyst, Chidubem Bon, however expressed doubt on the ability of both government and the petroleum marketers to provide lasting solution to the issue of product scarcity as long as they rely on import.
He said: “How can you rely on importation to serve a large country like Nigeria when God has blessed us with huge oil and gas deposit?
“At global level Nigeria is amongst the highest producers of crude and gas, yet, you rely on foreign countries to handle refining of the products for you to buy and service a population of close to 200 million citizens”.
Bon urged government to practically encourage local refineries in the country so that we have a system that can be predictable and also engage our population in practical production as a way of increasing employment opportunities for Nigerians.
“Local refining will stamp out scarcity, boost export earnings for the country, create employment as well as boost wealth creation and end numerous avoidable social vices prevalent today in Nigerian society”, he said.
Another danger created by kerosene scarcity, our investigation revealed, is that, adulteration of the product has become prevalent, as records have shown that explosions have occurred in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor in some homes as a result of fake or adulterated kerosene.
The newly inaugurated committee on Petroleum Product Monitoring in the state should as a matter of urgency check a situation where filling stations lack kerosene, yet hawkers have the products to sell.
Checks reveal that the few filling stations prefer selling to bulk buyers at higher prices, who in turn sell to the street sellers at exorbitant prices.
NNPC, UTM Seal Deal On First Indigenous Floating LNG Project
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and UTM Offshore have signed a Heads of Terms (HoT) agreement for the construction of the nation’s first indigenous floating LNG project.
The agreement, described as a major step towards bolstering Nigeria’s energy security and promoting the utilisation of its abundant gas resources, was signed on July 20, in Abuja.
It covers the 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) floating LNG project which is seen as a “must-do” initiative for Nigeria.
Signing the agreement, NNPC’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mele Kyari, expressed the company’s readiness to secure gas feedstock towards the project.
Group Managing Director UTM Offshore Ltd., Julius Rone, who described the deal as a milestone achievement, said it showcased the capability of indigenous companies to collaborate with world-class energy conglomerates to drive growth in Nigeria’s energy sector.
Rome further explained that apart from significantly cutting down on gas flaring and supporting the country’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, the project would also create over 7,000 job opportunities, contributing to the nation’s economic growth and development.
For this project, UTM Offshore awarded the contract for the conceptual design service to JGC Corporation back in 2021.
It would be recalled that in late 2022, the consortium of JGC and Technip Energies secured the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract.
The project was also supported by $5 billion from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Earlier this year, however, NNPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Norwegian Golar LNG, an owner and operator of marine LNG infrastructure, to build a floating LNG plant in Nigeria.
‘NNPC Spent N15b To Reconstruct Lagos-Badagry Expressway’
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) has disbursed N15 billion for the reconstruction of the Lagos Badagry Expressway under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) Scheme.
The N15 billion represents a 100 per cent payment of the funding of the Lagos-Badagry Road rehabilitation under the tax credit funding of the NNPC Ltd.
Group Chief Executive, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, made this known when he led NNPC’s management team with some top government officials to inspect the ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction-Nigeria/Benin Border).
The road under rehabilitation is being funded by the NNPC Ltd. under the Federal Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
The execution of the scheme is being carried out in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as the supervisor and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for NNPC’s tax obligations deductions.
This is in response to address the plight faced by petroleum products marketers in transportation which affects nationwide distribution.
Kyari said the fund disbursed was part of the N621.24 billion earmarked for the reconstruction of 21 roads nationwide under the scheme.
He expressed satisfaction over the stage of the road development.
“We are covering 1,804.6mkm across the country and taking another set of over a trillion naira investment on infrastructure in Nigeria, believing that with the tax credit system which Mr President has put in place, very soon there will be massive change.
“NNPC as the enabler will consider from its cash flow and fund whatever FIRS and Ministry of works approve for the company”, he said.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, represented by the Director, Highways, Roads and Rehabilitation of the Ministry, Mr Folorunsho Esan, said the intervention of the NNPC sped up the reconstruction of the expressway.
Esan said the project was 40 per cent completed.
“In the next 12 months we should be able to deliver this project because the drainages are in place, just for earth works and pavement works, it cannot take us more than 12 months,” he said.
Speaking on the gridlock being caused by the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, he said the contractor would clear all impediments and move out of site by December 15 to make the highway free for Yuletide.
Oil Marketers Urge Buhari To Crash Diesel Price
Petroleum marketers under the platform of Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) rose from their 2nd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last week, within a plea to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make dollars available at official rate to oil marketers.
This, they said, will enable them import diesel, end petrol scarcity, and ultimately save the Nigerian economy from sinking, saying that dollar support should be available till Dangote Refinery comes on stream later in the year.
The association, among others, urged the National Assembly to immediately enact a Bill for the establishment of Energy Bank for easy transaction in petroleum products in the sector.
National President of the Association, Mr Benneth Korie, who briefed the media after the NEC meeting in Abuja, noted that the bulk of the operational challenge peppering marketers and depot owners spring from expensive diesel which hovers around N850/litre.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving a higher bridging cost payment to transporters, Korie said the operators’ challenges were far from over as oil marketers and depot owners spend about N20 million weekly on diesel to power their operations, thus eroding their profits.
The association urges the National Assembly to review the policy of taxation as it affects petroleum products supply and distribution chain.
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