By Dipo Olowookere

The activities of some cross-border smugglers and traders and ongoing road construction have been blamed on persistent shortages of premium motor gasoline (PMS), also known as gasoline, in Nigeria.

For almost a year, Nigerians have been witnessing queues at gas stations across the country, with different reasons for shortages of the product at various periods.

Since the end of 2022, there have been long lines, which have defied different solutions and directives from President Muhammadu Buhari, who serves as Minister of Oil.

Giving an update on the situation on Friday, the federal government, through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), said the inability of Nigerians to purchase fuel without issue was due to a disruption in the supply of the product caused by the smugglers and oil traders.

“The current distribution problem is exacerbated by the activities of cross-border smugglers, who divert PMS destined for the Nigerian market to neighboring countries, where PMS prices are significantly higher than the Nigerian regulated price,” a company said today. part of a statement issued by the agency.

He also blamed road construction for the situation, stating that “the ongoing government effort to rehabilitate Nigeria’s strategic roads ahead of the rainy season has required the diversion of tankers carrying petroleum products to alternative roads, therefore, increasing transit time and the associated cost of transporting products.”

trade publication reports that in some parts of Lagos, oil traders sell PMS above the official price of N170 per litre. They dispense fuel between N250 per liter and N310 per liter.

It was noted that where gasoline sells for N170 per litre, especially at filling stations owned by major traders, there are long queues of vehicles that disrupt the flow of traffic, and where it is sold above the pump price regulated, there are no or less queues.

To address the gasoline shortage, the NMDPRA said it was “engaging and collaborating with the Nigerian Customs Service to address the diversion of product by smugglers to other countries.”

He assured that there was “sufficient PMS of more than 1,600 million liters as of January 26, 2023, both on land and at sea.”

“NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited) has also made a strong commitment to supply more volume of PMS in the coming months to ensure national energy security and nationwide availability at the government regulated price,” the organization further stated in the notice.

It emphasized that its monitoring teams have been strengthened to “checkmate the activities of misguided sellers who are distorting our planned flow of products to designated outlets to benefit from price arbitrage.”