Fuel Crisis Threatens To Force Nigeria Into A Recession

The nation’s commercial activities are being crippled by the continued fuel scarcity crisis, threatening to drive Nigeria into a recession.

Thousands of air travellers have been left stranded at airports across the country as domestic air carriers close operations because they lack fuel. Many of the passengers who arrived at the Abuja airport were met with officials informing them that their flight was cancelled, or that the sale of tickets was suspended.

Both Arik Air and Aero Contractors grounded all their planes because they could not obtain JetA1 fuel, the fuel needed for commercial jets to fly. Virgin Atlantic was also forced to buy its fuel in Accra, Ghana according to reports.

Mr. Simon Tumba, spokesman for Aero Contractors, told the media that, “Due to the general scarcity of aviation fuel (JetA1) in the country, the airline (Aero) will not be able to operate over 80 per cent of her domestic flights as scheduled.”

The shortage of diesel fuel has even shut down radio and television stations. BEAT FM Lagos and CITY FM announced that their 24 hour operations would be halted as a result of the diesel gasoline shortage. Many television stations announced they have been forced to take similar precautions and have yanked many programs from the television line up.

The fuel crisis has grown so potent that it may force MTN and Airtel to close down some of their services because of the amount of fuel needed for base stations throughout the country. The official MTN Twitter account for Nigeria told the public yesterday that, "If diesel supplies are not received within the next 24 hours the network will be seriously degraded and customers will feel the impact." 

Telecommunications companies have experienced a decline in calling and data plan subscriptions, which has been directly tied to the price of fuel, conserving mobile battery life, and generator use.

Hospitals have been struggling to cope with the price of diesel to power their generators, resulting in many patients asked to leave in order to save resources for patients with critical conditions.

As filling stations sell fuel at prices far beyond the reach of the common man, for 250-400 naira per liter in the formal market, or 450-500 naira on black markets; the Nigerian government and authorities have turned their backs on the crisis.

To make matters worse, the power supply dropped by nearly 1,000 megawatts last week, meaning that the country currently generates around 2,500 megawatts of power.

To make the situation worse the crisis was compounded by the epileptic power supply as a result of drop in generated power by 1,000 megawatts in the last one week. The National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) and Shiroro Power Plant will this week shut down its operation following of a system collapse at the Hydro-Electric Power Plant in Niger State, according to reports.

Many Nigerians have in the last one-week decried the poor supply of electricity and criticized the power firms for not living up to expectations.

The dwindling economic situation in Nigeria has led to mop up of money in circulation, reducing people’s purchasing power in an economy over-reliant on imported goods.                                        

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