AS FUEL PRICE HITS N600 PER LITRE
May 25, 2015 – Nigeria’s economy is on the brink. Fuel scarcity which hit the country in the last two weeks is almost at its worst. Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) better known as fuel which sold for N87 per litre now sells between N350 and N600 per litre in the black market.
Where it is available, it is mayhem and confusion as motorists and commuters with containers struggle to outwit one another most often resulting in shameless bickering and fights.
The announcement by Group General Manager of Capital Oil, Ifeanyi Uba to release about 13 million liters of fuel into Lagos seems be just a little drop in the ocean.
To worsen things, major banks have made known their intention to run skeletal services.
In a statement to customers, Guarantee Trust Bank (Gtb) said the current fuel scarcity has limited the its ability to supply diesel to branches to continue normal branch operations.
“The current shortage of petroleum products in the country has limited our ability to supply diesel to all our branches in order to continue normal branch operations.
“Due to this we unavoidably have to close our branches nationwide at 1pm from tomorrow Monday, May 25, 2015”, the bank said adding that it will however make available alternative channels and would advise customers when the current situation abates.
Other banks have also followed suit, FCMB , Skye Bank and First Bank are also shutting operation from 1 PM with effect from today. Zenith Bank and Fidelity Bank are also shutting operation by 2 PM with effect from today while Keystone Bank is shutting down branch operations by 3P from Monday May 25, 2015.
The banks are not the only organisations affected. Some radio stations have also decided to go on skeletal services. Topping the list is Beat FM, Classic and Naija Fm.
Some newspapers were also affected. Daily Independent Newspaper published by Independent Newspapers Nigeria Ltd, could not print on Sunday due to inability to get diesel. PM News could not print on Monday for same reason.
The bakeries were also affected. Bread Point, one of the bakeries in Lagos failed to produce on Saturday due to do unavailability of the product. Telecommunications companies are not left out. Already telecommunications giant, MTN has also opted to shutdown operation due to unavailability of diesel for base stations. Airtel is also opting for skeletal services.
Cost of transportation has tripled. A journey from Iyanaovoro to Ikeja now cost N400 while Lekki to Ikeja costs about N1000.
Meanwhile there is mayhem and total chaos in one of the petrol stations operated by Capital Oil on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway just after Sir Michael Otedola Estate.
The announcement by Uba suddenly engendered multiple fuel queues on the expressway leaving just one lane for motorists.
We gathered that the situation was so terrible that it engendered heavy traffic build up on the expressway forcing most motorists to start driving against traffic. By 1PM on Monday, the traffic on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway has extended beyond the Lagos State Secretariat.
Inside the petrol station, the atmosphere was tense. There are various shapes of containers on elongated queues brought by men, women and children all waiting to buy fuel to power their generators or vehicles.