30th April, 2012
Prolonged power outages and persistent fuel scarcity in Eket and its environs have ruined small businesses in the area, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Scarcity of petroleum products in Akwa Ibom has pushed the prices of petrol and kerosene to N200 per litre, a development that has adversely affected economic activities in parts of the state, especially Eket.
Mr. Assam Udoh, who operates a travel agency in Eket said that the high cost of petrol and power outages have become unbearable.
“The situation is so painful. The way it is, it has become unprofitable to survive under the present condition.
“I have been paying salaries of my staff ,who operate a business centre within the travel business, but without commensurate returns the next option is to reduce staff strength.
“We no longer have power from PHCN and petrol has gone out of reach, at the current price of N200 per litre, customers cannot absorb the high cost passed to them,” Udoh said.
Another proprietor of a business centre on Eket-Oron road, Mr. Effiong Samuel, said that business had been at a standstill, following the power outages and high cost of fuel in the past two weeks.
“We have been hoping that the power situation would improve in a few days but it has persisted and the high cost of petrol has also worsened things.
“At N200 per litre of petrol, how can we make photocopy and break even? We used to charge N10 per copy when we bought petrol at N97 how then can we increase it?” he asked.
NAN learnt that the prolonged power outage in the area was caused by the collapse of the Ibom Power Plant, promoted by the Akwa Ibom Government.
Mr. Offiong Itabong, the Public Relations Officer at the Eket Business Unit of the PHCN, told NAN that company was facing limited energy supply from the national grid.
He appealed to residents of the city to bear with the PHCN management as the management was working to restore normalcy in electricity supply.
“You will observe that until very recently we were having stability but there was a sharp drop in supply because we now depend on supply from the national grid.
“We hope to overcome these challenges shortly and we seek the understanding of our numerous customers in Eket district,” Itabong said.
It was also learnt that the high cost of petroleum products was caused by the strike embarked upon by Petrol Tanker Drivers in Akwa Ibom.