Nigerians Groan As Kerosene Scarcity Bites Harder Written by Gbola Subair, Kabiru Isiaka and Mathew Emmanuel Saturday, 29 January 2011 Nigerians have continued to groan as scarcity of kerosene bites harder with attendant price hike which has shot up by over 100 per cent the original price. Nigerians now pay through their noses as the product, which has disappeared from nearly all the country's filling stations and sold for less than N100 per litre before the scarcity, now sells between N200 and N250, investigations have shown. The country of over 150 million people, with daily demand of the product put between eight and 10 million litres, have for the past two weeks been witnessing scarcity of the product, which is mainly used for cooking in nearly every household and its major importer, the Nigerian National Petroleum Product (NNPC), is yet to come out with any official position. Against this backdrop, housewives mainly have resorted to seeking for alternatives as they could not afford the hike in price. Saturday Tribune findings showed that since the scarcity of the product, firewood and charcoal have become attractive to many Nigerians, a development which has ensured hike in price of both firewood and charcoal. Saturday Tribune gather that the scarcity is strongly felt also in Lagos, the south western and northern parts of the country, including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Most filling stations that have some quantity of the product were witnessing long queues of people wanting to purchase the product, even at exorbitant price. A retailer at Apongbon Street, Lagos, who simply identified himself as Alfa, sold five five litres for N700 while big bottled water-size goes for between N250 and N300. Alfa further stated that the scarcity and hike in price may not be unconnected with the inability of most of the NNPC's major dealers to get sufficient supply of the product. Similarly, at Campos Street area of the Island, there is also product scarcity with attendant high price. The two African Petrol Stations at Popo Aguda community of campus no longer sold kerosene. However, a retailer, who identified himself as Morufu, confirmed the scarcity and hike in the price of the product. He said, "the problem started some weeks ago and this made me to increase my price. "I now sell five litres of the product of N600, 25 litres at N3,400 while 50 litres is sold for N6,800, whereas I used to sell at N500, N2,800 and N5,600 respectively before." For Mrs. Abeni, a petty trader, living in Akute with three children, a suburb of Ogun State, life couldn't be much difficult. She has had to grapple with the fresh economic challenges posed by kerosene scarcity and consequent hike in the product. According to Mrs. Esther Omale, a charcoal seller at Ojodu Berger, Lagos, life couldn't be more pleasant as the situation has helped in growing her business which before was in a comatose state. "Before now, we used to buy a bag of charcoal at the cost of N800 and sell it at N1200, but now, our suppliers have jacked up the price to what used to be our selling price. So, we also have to increase the price so as to make meaningful profit. I bought 30 bags on Monday but as you can see, I am left with just two, so for me, the situation has only helped my business to flourish and I am very happy about that,"she said. According to her, most of her customers were mainly food sellers and some random household users. As the price of the product goes up by almost 100 per cent, many Nigerians, especially the low income earners, who rely on the product, have had to adjust their lifestyles to fit the purpose which the situation demands. Investigations by the Saturday Tribune revealed that a small bag of charcoal which used to sell for N50 now sells for N100 while that of N100 now goes for N200. A bag of charcoal which used to cost N1000 is now sold for N1500 in some places. Source:NIGERIAN TRIBUNE Agens notes:As elections are a few months away,such scarcity as this could be a determining factor in other nations,but in Nija,its business as usual! Why would a government be so detached from its people?