Nigeria Grapples with Fuel Import Slump Amid Subsidy Controversy

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

*Sudden Downturn in Fuel Imports*

Nigeria’s landscape of fuel imports has hit a staggering low, leaving depots scrambling and triggering a cascade of shutdowns among numerous filling stations. The ones still operational are besieged by growing queues of desperate motorists. Inside sources in Apapa divulge a stark decrease in vessel arrivals, linking the strain to an over-reliance on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPCL) for petrol imports.

“A distressing decline in truck loading was evident this week, sinking to a meager three trucks today,” disclosed an insider from a top-tier downstream company.

*Bureaucracy Hinders Supply Chain*

Recent vessel dockings at ASPM terminal and MOJ won’t translate into immediate relief, as regulatory red tape delays the fuel discharge process. Motorists across Ogba, Alausa, and Alapere face an uphill battle securing petrol, a struggle mirrored in stations stretching from Ikeja to Ikorodu road.

*Forex Instability Stifles Importers*

The return of the subsidy regime has thrown the foreign exchange market into disarray, prompting about seven marketers to cease new petrol imports. They cite the eroded profitability due to subsidy-induced market distortions.

*Subsidy Saga Continues*

Despite NNPCL’s CEO Mele Kyari’s dismissal of subsidy reinstatement, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) insists on the contrary. “The government is undoubtedly subsidizing petrol,” affirmed Festus Osifo, PENGASSAN National President, attributing ongoing subsidies to climbing crude oil prices and a volatile exchange rate.

*A Two-Pronged Exit Strategy*

Osifo underscores the necessity of efficient exchange rate management and increased supply to negate the need for subsidies. Only by addressing these factors can the government hope to discontinue its petrol subsidies genuinely.

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