Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
It is visibly not the best of times for citizens in Anambra State as fuel pump price has skyrocketed to above three hundred naira per liter from the usual price it was being sold prior to the Christmas season.
A litre of fuel presently sells for as high as N350 in some petrol stations in Anambra State, while some still dispense at N320. This is a far cry from the Federal Government approved pump price of the product, which is N185 per litre.
Residents have complained that the development has made them apprehensive, wondering what the cost of living will be in the year 2023.
This is because the costs of transportation, food items, building materials, and other essential commodities have been hitting the roof without any regulation or control by authorities.
The costs of goods, transportation and other services keep skyrocketing by the day, with their providers complaining that things may become worse rather than better this new year if government does not take urgent measures to address the situation.
A resident of Awka who refused to be named said it was regrettable that the hike has continued to take its toll on business, with prices of goods and services increasing without control.
Recounting her own ordeal, another resident, Ifunanya Ene, said that the situation has affected her expenditure as transportation fare has doubled per drop.
Interestingly, some of the people traveling for Christmas and new year festivities spend hours on queues at filling stations to buy some litres of petrol.
At the NNPC filling station in Awka, there is always a long queue of vehicles waiting to buy petrol. Ikengaonline learnt that these people end up going home with their mission unfulfilled as they are often told that the commodity was not available.
Some of the motorists who could not hide their frustration said they came out to queue up at the NNPC filling station as early as 05:30am in the hope that they would dispense fuel but as they waited, the lines kept extending. Their hopes were dashed after waiting for nearly six hours on the queue when the management informed them that the fuel they had all waited so long for was not available.
One angry customer said a few hours after the crowd had dispersed in disappointment, the stations began to sell.
When approached, the supervisor claimed that there was no fuel and that what was being dispensed to those vehicles was “reserve” petrol.
The situation has not been fair to citizens in the state as people have been made to dig deep into their pockets to transport themselves even to the shortest of distance or rather fuel their tanks for their daily businesses.
IPMAN calls for FG intervention
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has called on the Federal Government to make petroleum products available to the masses.
The group said Nigerian masses are in agony over the scarcity of petroleum products, leading to the inability of their members to get products to dispense to consumers.
In an interview with Journalists, The Chairman, Mr Chinedu Anyaso, said: “The NNPC has not been supplying fuel to independent marketers for a very long time. We source for the product from private tank farm owners who sell at very exorbitant prices.
“As at 31st of December 2022, marketers were buying the product at the cost of N237 per litre, then pay N3 loading cost and N15 for transportation which brings the landing cost to about N255 and N260 per liter depending on location.
“Despite the high cost, getting the product is even becoming very difficult, as most private tank farm owners are not selling to marketers.”
Speaking on how the problem could be solved, the IPMAN boss said there was need to resuscitate all the refineries across the country, and that the Federal Government should come out clear on the issue of oil subsidy to enable Nigerians plan their activities.
He blamed the latest scarcity and high cost of the product on the NNPC who has the monopoly of refining and importing the product into the country but has not lived up to expectations.
Mr Anyaso noted that if the NNPC had imported enough products as they always claim, petrol would be available and thereby force the price of the commodity down.