Stop fuel scarctiy, Energy Editor tell FG

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A group of writers under the aegis of the National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC) has implored relevant federal government agencies to stop the current fuel scarcity in the country.

The association,in a statement, regretted that the development has brought untold hardship to Nigerians and man-hour loss, which should have been put into productive ventures uses.

While long queues persisted at stations now selling at N185 per litre in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, the energy editors said,other marketers have started to take advantage of the situation, causing serious hardship to Nigerians and dislocation to the market through hoarding and profiteering.

Black marketers have been having a field day with fat bank accounts on at the detriment of poor Nigerians,according to the association.

It also noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s stations and marketers, have hiked their pump prices for premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, for the second time in less than sixty days.

The lowest price for the product is now N185 per litre from N175 per litre sold two months ago. The low-price band for the product, before this, was N165 per litre.

It lamented that most independent petroleum marketers’ retail outlets have adjusted their pump price to N290 to N300 per liter in tune with current market reality,adding the development portends grave implications for the already weakened purchasing power and income of the average Nigerian.

The association also regretted that high cost of petrol is impacting the daily cost of living as seen in transportation costs, energy costs as many homes continue to rely on alternative sources of power due to the poor supply from the grid as well as huge cost of goods and services.

It added:”Though marketers have attributed the present petrol queues across the country to exceptionally high demand and bottlenecks in the fuel distribution chain, it is however clear that the distribution value-chain is broken and worsened by a weak regulatory system.It is bad enough that there is no one to hold to account, it is worse that the government has jeopardised the interest of the masses for politics, considering that elections are near.

“We observe that the major arguments advanced by both government agencies and market players for the lingering fuel scarcity include logistics, price regulation, and domestic energy subsidy. However, we also note that energy subsidy is a normal and effective economic growth stimulation strategy still employed by all developed countries of the world to tame the cost of production and guarantee the well-being of citizens. The subsidy system in Nigeria has been enmeshed in gross opacity”.

It commended that NNPCL should ensure a transparent subsidy system that will allow the supply figures and cost templates that provide a basis for subsidy claims to be verifiable.

It suggested that all stakeholder groups should liaise with regulators to establish unassailable templates for subsidy management until the market is deregulated.
We therefore call on the government to immediately liberalize petrol supplies in the country in line with best practices.

The association recommended that the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDRA), which is responsible for operations compliance and resource accountability need to rise to its duty by holding market players accountable for open books, fair play and equal opportunity.

It advised the NMDRA not to fail in providing a public dashboard on the supply flow in the domestic fuel market to allow public demand for accountable practice from players,adding that the development will clear the air of suspicion that the prevailing fuel market crisis is not a political undertaking by managers of the system to siphon funds for political objectives.

The association is calling on the regulatory agencies to perform their responsibilities rather than the buck-passing because Nigerians deserve an answer and look up to the media who are equally kept in the dark.

The association implored marketers, independent and majors, should also look inwards to fish out bad eggs among them, adding that their comments, action, and inactions should be guided by patriotism and humanity.

Commending NMDPRA on its strides,the association advised the authority to do more in ensuring stability in the market through proper pricing.