Fuel Shortages to Hit Nigeria in Three Weeks, Seplat CEO Says

Nigeria will probably be hit by fuel shortages in three weeks as the government doesn’t have enough money to pay for gasoline subsidies, according to the head of Seplat Petroleum Development Co Plc.

“In three weeks we will be back to scarcity because we simply don’t have the money to pay for the subsidy,” Austin Avuru, chief executive officer of Lagos-based Seplat, said on Thursday at a Bloomberg conference at the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Nigeria almost ground to a halt last month during the country’s worst fuel shortage in a decade due to a dispute between oil-product marketers and the outgoing government. The shortage left service stations closed, aircraft grounded, and businesses unable to operate.

A lack of oil refining capacity means Nigeria subsidizes gasoline imports and suffers frequent fuel shortages even though it’s Africa’s biggest crude producer of about 2 million barrels a day. President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office on May 29, said this week his government is facing severe financial strain from a Treasury that’s “virtually empty” and billions of dollars in debt.

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