There are more revelations on the current scarcity of aviation fuel in the country. According to the the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) the current scarcity and persistent increase in the price of aviation fuel can be linked to a powerful cabal in the supply chain of the petroleum industry. The Chairman of the association, Captain Nogie Meggison, who made this revelation, advised the Federal Government to step in to stop and break the cartel’s hold.
“It is obvious that there is a cartel; there is something behind it. Because this is happening in a country where we were buying fuel in March, April for N105 and today, four months down the line, you are buying it at N200 per litre in Lagos only. Once you go out of Lagos and you start to move into the hinterland, it goes as high at about N240.“It is clear that there is a cartel, or a price fixing at the detriment, sadly, of the Nigerian masses. You can go and look at the profit returns and the first quarter or half year report from the oil marketers, they are now making three times what they made last year at the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians. I believe that the government needs to step in this time to stop and break that hold.” He said.
He also blamed the current upsurge in the price of aviation fuel on the restriction on foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Yes, we have foreign exchange restriction and availability of forex to import. But when you look at the country next door that is also importing, like Accra, today with the government’s assistance, it is selling fuel at N120.“We have no reason as a country, if we want to grow our economy, to sell fuel at N200 per litre. It is clear that aviation is a catalyst for any economy to grow. It is part of the wheel and a pivot for any economic stand.”
He however showered encomiums on the government for implementing some far-reaching policies in the industry.
“But to be fair to the government, they are beginning to shift body and give us a listening ear to see how they can provide the fund for Jet A1 importation but the fear is always that the same marketers that we are talking about will take the same funds and use it to do something else. “So we are working out modalities to see how we can get the government to provide that fund and ensure that it is used strictly for aviation.”
The cabals in the supply chain of the energy market in the country has become an albatross and many Nigerians are worried that little has been achieved to bring an end to the influence of these “invincible saboteurs” in the industry.