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Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo 3 lessons Nigeria should learn from fuel scarcity

The problems that cause the fuel scarcity have been around for years, but the sooner Nigeria starts to solve them, the better for the country and its people.

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Nigeria is currently entertaining its annual visitor, fuel scarcity.

Every year, for more than a decade, the crippling fuel shortage starts, almost without warning, and leaves citizens worse for wear.

Nigerians are forced to queue at petrol stations for hours on end, sometimes without any assurance that they’d get fuel to buy.

The most unfortunate part of the scenario is that the government has failed to find a permanent solution to the crisis.

According to the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Sunny Nkpe, Nigeria suffers from frequent fuel shortages because it’s not using its refineries.

“We have refineries that can refine 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day, that’s millions of litres of refined product. Why are we not using the refineries? Let them use the refineries,” Nkpe said on Monday, May 25, 2015 while speaking to Pulse.

The Muhammadu Buhari administration has begun using the refineries again but according to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, they can’t produce enough fuel to meet the local demand for petrol even if they functioned at optimal capacity.

“The design of the Nigerian refineries was such that the component of PMS versus other products was almost a 50/50 per cent relationship. Most world refineries now provide PMS to about 70 to 80 per cent ratio,” Kachikwu said on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, while briefing the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) on the fuel scarcity.

"So, even if the refineries work as being designed today, they will still provide less than 50 per cent of what we consume in this country….we will still have a gap, this is why we have gone to try and increase the capacity,” he added.

It’s amazing that the largest producer of oil in Africa and the sixth largest in the world has only four refineries when Texas in the United States of America has about 30.

The problems that cause the fuel scarcity have been around for years, but the sooner Nigeria starts to solve them, the better for the country and its people.

Here are three lessons Nigeria can learn from its frequent petrol shortages:

  • Lesson 1: Build more refineries: The Nigerian government needs to build, and encourage the building, of more refineries. For this to happen, it must release its vice-like grip on the oil industry and allow contributions from the private sector. Billionaire, Aliko Dangote is building one that should be ready in 2017 but he shouldn’t be the only one allowed to participate.

  • Lesson 2: Create alternative means of transportation: The Nigerian government needs to create alternative means of transport for its citizens to utilize. Fuel shortages have such a crushing effect because a large chunk of the populace relies on private transportation.

  • Lesson 3: Provide constant electricity: The fuel scarcity is usually worsened by the fact that citizens have to also buy petrol to power generators for electricity. If there’s constant electricity, the fuel that is available will be mostly used for vehicles and there’ll be much more to go around.

Finally, the Nigerian government needs to stop acting like it’s a victim of fuel scarcity and start taking concrete and visible steps towards permanently solving the problem.

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