Nigeria Starts to Take On Fuel Shortages

A couple years ago I wrote about Nigeria’s chronic gasoline shortages — ironic for a country that is one of the world’s leading exporters of oil.

This year the Nigerian government began to address the fuel shortages by moving slowly to eliminating one of the factors responsible for it — subsidies on gasoline that make it profitable to buy gasoline and sell it to neighboring countries or on the black market rather than actually use it for fuel.

After winning re-election, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo raised the price of gasoline by 50 percent. According to the BBC, this immediately brought on a general strike and Obasanjo had to back of the price increase a bit, but in the end the price of gasoline still was up 30 percent.

According to the BBC, the gasoline subsidy cost the Nigerian government about $2 billion a year, so every change helps the government’s budget as well as restoring some much-needed sanity to gasoline prices in Nigeria.


Nigeria tackles fuel subsidies. Mark Ashurst, BBC, July 18, 2003.

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