Fuel Scarcity Makes This Filling Station Manager Happy and Sad

October 27, 2022

Today’s subject of Navigating Nigeria is Titilope who manages a filling station in Bariga, Lagos . She talks about what fuel scarcity means for a filling station manager and how much of it is really good or bad for business.

What does a filling station manager feel about a fuel scarcity crisis?

Whenever a fuel scarcity crisis happens, it’s mixed feelings for me. On one hand, we’re excited about the price surge because it’s an opportunity for us to make more in sales. Selling a full truck or two in a day gives you access to higher profit margins. But on the other hand, it can be very stressful because we enter a race with the big guns in Nigeria’s oil industry to get fuel products at very exorbitant prices.

What caused this latest fuel scarcity?

The current fuel scarcity actually started on Thursday, October 20, 2022 — Nigerians just didn’t notice it. On that day, nobody could place an order because naval officers didn’t allow vessels to land at the ports. Unofficially, we were told there was a fight but it’s privileged information so I won’t mention the people involved. The landing cost of fuel increased as a result and the few operators who had stock increased their prices. 

Mad

Last week for example, we were getting stock as high as ₦‎168 per litre because there was limited stock. Don’t also forget that there are floods affecting various parts of the country. In fact, at the depot two weeks ago, the government didn’t allow filling stations based in southern Nigeria to load up fuel. Priority was given to filling stations in states affected by the floods. So, if there are 10 trucks loaded up, states in the northern region like Kogi got top priority, meaning that the southern states have to fight for the few available trucks left.

Wow

As at Thursday, no new vessels had come in for landing. From Thursday till Monday, the effect of no landing is what Nigerians are now experiencing in the form of fuel scarcity. This also affects us as dealers. For instance, I wanted to place an order on Friday but I couldn’t because the available product had already been hijacked by the big wigs. So, small companies like us can’t compete.

Another thing is that in situations like this when there’s scarcity, companies like Forte Oil, Conoil, NNPC that operate downstream  have the advantage. Naturally, they’ll give priorities to their own filling stations.

There was product in the free market but it was as high as ₦178 per litre even though the retail price is ₦170. Many people didn’t buy and that’s why you see a lot of filling stations locked up because the owners are thinking about it. 

Don’t also forget that there was a blackout in many parts of Nigeria during the weekend. The blackout caused a surge in demand for fuel and we exhausted our stock by Sunday with nothing to fall back on. 

Mad. So how are fuel marketers getting along?

Since it’s looking like a full-blown scarcity in the next few days, we may be willing to take the risk to buy as high as ₦178 per litre, even though government agencies like the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will still come to bully us. Despite knowing we buy at these high prices, they expect us to sell to Nigerians at ₦170 per litre.

These are the things that many people aren’t willing to get involved in. The DPR doesn’t even deal in petty bribes of ₦50,000, they deal in bribes of hundreds of thousands. When you buy at ₦178 and sell at ₦170, how can you gain? 

Don’t also forget that we pay taxes. To load a truck within Lagos you pay as high as ₦250,000, and ₦400,000 outside Lagos. When you consider these things, it’s not favorable for us in the long run. 

How badly does this affect your pocket?

The impact for us is that we all have to sit at home. We can’t afford to get into trouble with government officials and Nigerians won’t know that the scarcity isn’t our fault. We can’t afford to buy what we can’t sell, and those that can sell simply increase the prices — probably because they have the money to bribe the DPR.

Since Sunday night I’ve been observing the trend through inside sources and driving around to see if our competitors are selling or not. Generally, I’m just testing if the water is shallow enough to put my leg in.

That process must be stressful

It’s not easy. It’s a family business and when my father started it, it wasn’t this hard. Right now, we’re just doing it for the sake of doing it because profit margins are as low as ₦2 or ₦1. You buy stock at ₦164 but it’s ₦165 tomorrow and ₦166 the day after. That’s what happens when there’s no proper regulation.

If you don’t want Nigerians blaming station managers like you, who should we be talking to?

NNPC and the Nigerian government. The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) are trying their best, but what do you expect us to do? Think about it, if we’re buying today at ₦183, we have no choice but to sell to Nigerians at ₦200 per litre, at least.

What’s the way out of this current scarcity?

There’s hope it’ll end soon because we’re in the election season and the government in power wouldn’t want it to last for too long. The fuel scarcity may end towards the end of this week, or next week.

What needs to happen to avoid the next fuel scarcity?

Proper management. The NNPC in all honesty has shown that they don’t have the capacity to manage this thing — there’s too much corruption. So what they do is allocate to the big guys who have the capacity to hoard products — the whole thing revolves around a circle of people. Despite laws in place against this, the government isn’t implementing anything. The NNPC isn’t supposed to have exclusive authority over everything.

ALSO READ: Navigating Nigeria: My Encounter With the Police Left Me With PTSD 

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

November 3, 2022

On October 23, 2022, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu bragged on Twitter about the delivery of 62 brand-new fire trucks and support vehicles for the Lagos State Fire Department. The vehicles paraded the streets of Lagos like happy children would display their Christmas clothes to their friends and haters.  But when a fire started burning a building […]

November 5, 2022

Ever since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the redesign of the naira banknotes, the financial economy of Nigeria has been going haywire. The naira continues to tumble, the scarcity of dollars is making waves and even the Minister of Finance has washed her hands from the mess.  To add to all the commotion, […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

December 6, 2022

The Nigerian Voter is a series that seeks to understand the motivations that drive the voting decisions of Nigerians — why they vote, how they choose their candidates, why some have never voted, and their wildest stories around elections. This week’s subject of The Nigerian Voter is Umar, a tech freelancer in his early twenties […]

December 6, 2022

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has a track record of suing Buhari every three market days. The organisation has dragged the president to court over the embezzlement of ₦1.4 trillion meant for oil refineries, and for his failure to publish the repatriation details of Abacha’s $23 million loot, amongst others. The list of […]

Recommended Quizzes

June 14, 2020

Have you ever been with someone so horrible that you swore to never date again? Yes? Well, do you know that one or more of your exes probably feels the same way about you? You never thought about that, huh? Thankfully, this quiz is here to let you know just how much of a hassle […]

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these quizzes.

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

April 14, 2020

Every friend group consists of very different and specific characters — from the parent to the fun one — and it can be a little tough figuring out where you fall. So, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know exactly what kind of friend you are. Take to find out:

More from Citizen

December 6, 2022

The Nigerian Voter is a series that seeks to understand the motivations that drive the voting decisions of Nigerians — why they vote, how they choose their candidates, why some have never voted, and their wildest stories around elections. This week’s subject of The Nigerian Voter is Umar, a tech freelancer in his early twenties […]

December 6, 2022

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has a track record of suing Buhari every three market days. The organisation has dragged the president to court over the embezzlement of ₦1.4 trillion meant for oil refineries, and for his failure to publish the repatriation details of Abacha’s $23 million loot, amongst others. The list of […]

December 5, 2022

After two months of back and forth, we’re pleased to announce the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has finally released his manifesto! The manifesto has attracted mixed reactions from fans and haters alike since Obi announced the 72-page document on December 4, 2022. But, what exactly is the content of this […]

December 3, 2022

Dear Nigerians, the moment you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially announced the date for Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) collection. When’s the collection?  INEC has given us exactly five weeks for PVC collection — from December 12, 2022 to January 22, 2023.  But Nigerians aren’t too pleased […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X