Nigeria is the largest fuel producer in Africa. Despite this title, in recent days it has been faced with a shortage of fuel.
For the past week, Nigeria has been going through a period of shortage or even absence of fuel in its fuel stations. In front of those open in the cities of Abuja and Lagos, the lines of cars stretch for hundreds of metres. According to the National Oil Company (NNPC), this shortage is due to the importation of a large quantity of adulterated fuel.
Indeed, Nigeria, despite being Africa’s leading producer of black gold, has to import a large part of its fuel because of its dilapidated refining infrastructure and smuggling. This means that the four refineries in this country of almost 220 million people are not really working. It therefore has to import between 1 and 1.25 million tonnes of fuel oil per month to meet its domestic demand of about 53 million litres per day.
Impacts on the daily lives of Nigerians
The lack of fuel has a major impact on the daily lives of Nigerians. In this condition of lack of available fuel, the price of transport has become exorbitant in many cities. This forces many inhabitants to travel long distances by bicycle or even on foot.
According to the World Bank, four out of ten Nigerians are below the international poverty line. This threshold ranges from $1.25 to $2.00 per person per day. In this country electricity is a problem that undermines development. Those who can afford it, rely on fuel or diesel generators to power their homes and businesses. This goes on for most of the day. With this shortage, generator users are forced to double their expenditure on diesel to run their generator.
In addition to these consequences, many motorists and motorbike drivers complain about the damage caused by bad imported fuel.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) intercepted over 100 million litres of fuel that did not meet the required specifications. This is adulterated fuel imported from Antwerp in Belgium by 4 importers. The cargo contained about 20% methanol, a corrosive solvent usually used in small quantities in the refining of crude oil.
It should be noted that the NNPC has been trying for several days to withdraw this contaminated product from the market.
Fuel companies said that several stations were always trying to return adulterated fuel supplied to them last week. This prevents them from storing and selling contaminated products.
Beninese pay the price as well
In recent days, Beninese smugglers have found it difficult to obtain supplies since Nigeria, which should be supplying them with contraband, is also in short supply. This leads to an increase in fuel prices. Since Tuesday, the yellow cans that serve as price indications show 500f/l, 550f/l or even 600f/l against 545f/l in the stations.
Nevertheless, it is hoped that oil imports will be reduced by between 36% and 43% per day within the next few months as the Dangote Group refinery comes on stream.