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FUEL CRISES: Niger Republic Begins Daily Fuel Export to Nigeria

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As the fuel scarcity continues in some part of the country, West African neighbour, Niger Republic has concluded plans to export two million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to Nigeria daily.

It was revealed that border towns in states such as Katsina, Kano and Sokoto, sharing boundary with Niger Republic, were already receiving the product from the country with prices ranging from N80 to N100 per litre.

A source at the Soraz Refinery in Niger confirmed this development, he said: “Nigeria is now at the mercy of Niger Republic, which is now supplying about two million litres to the Northern region,”

He further added that the refinery was cashing in on the scarcity in Nigeria, noting that his country had a huge surplus of product refined from about 13,000 barrels per day and the larger chunk of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from this volume was consumed majorly in Nigeria.

“Although the optimum capacity is 20,000 barrels per day, the Soraz Refinery is refining an average of 18,000 barrels of crude daily.

Our domestic requirement from this is less than 5,000 bpd and you should know that the scarcity in Nigeria is a major market advantage for our products,” he said.

The oil installation is close to the Nigerian border. The 20,000 barrels per day (bpd), Soraz Refinery, located in Niger Republic, is now a major supplier of petroleum products to Katsina, Bauchi, Sokoto and Jigawa, among others.

These states actually consume petroleum products from the refinery located at Zinder, some 900 kilometres east of the capital of Niger, Niamey. Meanwhile, the Republic of Benin and other neighbouring countries have begun to suffer the backlash of fuel scarcity in Nigeria.

“Towns like Cotonou, Tube, Ajashe and others in Benin Republic have, for a long time, been depending on supplies from Nigeria through Idiroko and Seme border and now that Nigeria is not able to even satisfy itself, these towns are in serious mess,” Sulaimon Ibraheem, a tyre merchant in Owode-Yewa, a border town between Nigeria and Benin said.

The Federal Government had, however, promised to end the scarcity before the Yuletide. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, it would be recalled, made this promise in Lagos, insisting that the order he gave to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to sell the product of any marketer who engages in hoarding still stand.

He said: “A lot of issues were responsible for the challenges, but obviously, fuel subsidy payment, speed of loading out foreign exchange allocation and obviously efficiency in terms of trucking. We are going to work with everybody within the sector. December is a critical month for us and we want to make sure that Nigerians are not suffering for Christmas traveling in any part of the country.

“So, we are going to work with every depot owner to see how we can get the product in, encourage them to also bring product in so that we can see how to improve efficiency in loading. It is also critical that people are selling at the control prices.”

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude exporter, has been finding it difficult to meet the 40 million litres daily consumption requirement of her citizens. More to this crises, is the halt of importation by private operators, who threw the country into a major fuel crisis.