Relief for telecoms operators as deal reached to end fuel crisis

26 May 2015

Nigerian fuel wholesalers have reached an agreement with the government to resume distribution, after weeks of disruption impacted on the country’s telecoms, aviation and banking sectors, Reuters reports. The country’s mobile operators, including South African-owned MTN and UAE-based Etisalat, warned that the fuel shortage was disrupting their services, as it prevented them from supplying diesel to base stations and switches. ‘Services are already degraded and some of our customers are already feeling the impact,’ Funmilayo Onajide, spokeswoman from market leader MTN Nigeria, was quoted as saying, while Etisalat Nigeria yesterday announced ‘possible disruptions to its operations and services as a result of the current nationwide scarcity of petroleum products,’ adding that it was ‘working assiduously to minimise the impact given the circumstances.’ The statement continued: ‘The scarcity of petroleum products has impacted every sector of the economy and the provision of telecommunications services is no exception. We are however working with partners and doing all that is possible to continue to deliver quality services in spite of the challenge. Such a prolonged situation threatens our ability to re-fuel all our sites … thus negatively impacting service.’ However, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has told reporters that fuel marketers had resolved to call off their campaign of depot closures after a meeting with the finance minister and lawmakers. Chinedu Okoronkwo of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association said that he expected petroleum product supplies to normalise within 24 hours.