Fuel Shortages Hit Nigeria As Weaker Currency Hurts Importers

Fuel Shortages Hit Nigeria As Weaker Currency Hurts Importers

By Julia Payne and Libby George | From Reuters

Oil-rich Nigeria’s main cities are facing acute gasoline shortages as importers feel the pinch of a plummeting local currency, tighter credit lines and unpaid government subsidies, oil traders and local industry sources said.

As queues of double-parked cars stretch outside filling stations in the capital Abuja, empty tanks elsewhere are forcing consumers onto the black market just weeks before presidential elections on March 28 in Africa’s biggest economy.

“I have spent 12 hours here,” taxi driver Bartholomew Odey Akpa told Reuters on Monday. “I work at the airport as a car hire … and there is no fuel for me to go.”

Nigeria exports around two million barrels per day of crude oil but is almost wholly reliant on imports for the 40 million litres per day of gasoline it consumes.

The picture is an unwelcome one for President Goodluck Jonathan, who faces former military leader Muhammadu Buhari in what is expected to be the tightest election battle since the end of military rule in 1999.

Nigeria’s state oil company tried to reduce panic buying on Friday by announcing additional supplies but to little avail.

Femi Olawore, the executive secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), said they began receiving the stop-gap gasoline on Tuesday morning.

Read more at Reuters