Kerosene scarcity has hit Akwa Ibom state, a major oil producer as the product now sells for N270 and N300 per litre making many households to resort to panic buying fearing that the commodity might not be available sooner or later for them to buy.
According to findings, most of the filling stations in Uyo, the state capital do not have the product but it is available in outlets run by surface tank operators.
The findings also showed that many of the marketers openly display the price of the commodity without any regard to the approved price of the product at the available outlets.
Before the current round of scarcity began, kerosene which is widely used by households in the state sold between N150 and N190 per litre while it was also readily available at filling stations across the state.
Speaking on her predicament, a 24-year-old housewife, Emem Umoh said she spends more money on fuel than she spends on medication per week the family adding that she might be forced to return to the use of firewood if the scarcity persists.
“Imagine spending N1,000 to buy less than four litres of kerosene which can hardly last for one week,’’ he lamented.
According to the findings, while the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) has remained relatively stable at around N145 and N150 per litre in the state making commuters and motorists to enjoy a hitch free Christmas and New Year celebrations, the case for kerosene has been different as its price has not only gone up but it has also become a scarce commodity.
It was gathered that the scarcity which began more than two weeks ago might not be unconnected with the inability of the marketers to bring in the product into the state as a result of pressure on foreign exchange.
According to checks, it was further learnt that the scarcity in Akwa Ibom has been made worse by the absence of a major petroleum depot in the state adding that as a key oil producer, Akwa Ibom should have had either a refinery or a petroleum complex which according to observers would make it immune to product scarcity.
Essien Esema, special assistant to the state governor on petroleum product monitoring could not be reached for his comments on the current scarcity.