The sector that contributes 57.9 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is at risk of closure, as the unending fuel crisis witnessed across the country has started to take its toll on small businesses
in Abuja and other parts of the country, since majority of the businesses were now struggling to remain open.
Specifically, most of them, mainly informal businesses, which the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, said accounted for 57.9 per cent of Nigeria’s rebased GDP, had to shut down their businesses over non-availability of power supply and scarcity of petroleum to power their generators.
Power supply to households also dropped to as low as four hours per day, while fuel has risen to N350 per litre from the black marketers, the only source of the product.
Some of the business owners worst hit by the crisis are barbers, hair-dressers, tailors, fashion designers, business centre operators, technicians and taxi drivers, among others.
Most of the small businesses in Kubwa were shut weekend, as some operators said they could not get fuel to power their generators, while in cases where they were lucky to get the product, it costs as high as N300 per litre.
They said as a result of the power and fuel crises, their cost of business had skyrocketed, thereby making their businesses unprofitable.
Also, the hardship faced by Nigerians heightened as the queues continued to grow longer at filling stations in major cities across the country, while a few others selling the product hiked the price above the official pump price.
FG releases petrol to IPMAN
However, as parts of efforts to stem the fuel crisis, the Federal Government has resumed the release of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, to Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, in an effort to end the persistent fuel crisis.
IPMAN, had in a statement in Abuja, weekend, stated that the resumption of loading, after a two-year suspension, would see the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, settling the 7,000 pending loading tickets.
The statement noted that some marketers had started loading the products from some depots in Lagos as a result of the intervention by the IPMAN Reconciliation /Interim Management Committee, which was recently constituted by the Federal Government.
IPMAN, according to the statement, controls over 80 per cent of the petroleum products retail outlets in the country, adding, however, that they were not getting the products from the NNPC due to the internal leadership crisis that rocked the association over the last two years.
In the statement signed by the secretary of the Reconciliation Committee, Mr Lawson Ngoa, IPMAN confirmed the release of the products to some of the members, while he said the committee had taken steps to ensure that products were available all over the country.
Ngoa thanked Nigerians for their patience and understanding in this very difficult period, assuring that with the support of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and his team, the scarcity would soon be over.