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Fresh fuel scarcity looms as marketers shut down filling stations


– Petrol Sells Above N87 per Litre


ACTIVITIES some petrol depots in the Apapa axis of Lagos and other parts of the country is being hampered  following very poor supply of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to them.

Petrol tankers waiting to load products reportedly flood the Apapa area where a large chunk of the country’s fuel depots are situated.

ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered that loading activities are constantly frustrated at NIPCO, AITEO, Capital and Folawiyo depots, which are the most active in the area.

Marketers claim that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) don’t always have products to go round.

Analyst blame the poor loading situation at the depots on NNPC’s slow pace of delivering products to marketers.  The NNPC has been the main importer of petrol into the country, in recent times as a result of the unwillingness of members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depots and Petroleum Marketers Association to import following the failure of the government to pay them over N200bn in subsidies arrears.

Some also cite high cost of import occasioned by the high exchange of the naira against the USD.  “We are ready to transact business with the NNPC, but we don’t the products. It is obvious that the NNPC cannot guarantee adequate supply of products,” a marketer told ENCOMIUM Weekly.

The Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr. Thomas Olawore, had also said the NNPC lacked the capacity to address the national demand for petrol in the long term and did not have the distribution network to drive product penetration.  But the corporation insists that it has stepped up efforts to maintain stability in the supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide.  It said it had enough stock of petrol to service the country for 23 days at a national consumption rate of 40 million litres per day, even as it had stepped up product distribution to marketers and NNPC retail outlets across the country.

While calling on members of the public to refrain from panic buying, the NNPC said it had sufficient stock of petrol at its coastal depots in Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar, besides the stock in the national strategic reserves.  But supply and distribution of petrol has been an issue since the resolution of the feud between MOMAN and the federal government weeks back.

The absence of queues at filling stations in most states of the federation, is the most intriguing part of the development.  Interestingly, petrol, when available now sells from N100 per litre, while some major marketers prefer not to sell to anybody.

Filling stations who ration their products do so on ground of anticipation of scarcity, while some who don’t operate at all, claim the cost of supply and distribution of products no longer make business sense.

The situation was serious in Lagos last Saturday, July 18, 2015 as most marketers shut their filling stations.  ENCOMIUM Weekly’s reporters who monitored stations from Ojota/Ikorodu road to the National Stadium/Western Avenue observed that almost all the filling stations were shut.  We gathered that some of them shut down, not really because they don’t have products but they were not willing to sell at the official pump price of N87 per litre.

“If they sell above the official pump price, NNPC and law enforcement agencies would sanction them. Many filling stations have been sealed on this account,” a revealed.

But marketers who operate at suburbs, not under direct searchlight of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), are doing brisk business.  They sell between N100 and N120!

And there are now queues and scarcity of products.  This is not strange in the Eastern and Northern parts of the country where marketers are rarely monitored by officials of DPR and PPPRA.  In fact, for ages, petrol has never been sold at official pump price in these areas.  And this is one of the reasons many want the fuel subsidy to be scrapped.  For critics of the subsidy, the over N1 trillion Nigeria spends on subsidy annually is draining the national treasury. And has to be stopped!

A situation where oil cabals and their cronies are enriched by the Federal Government, while the masses are further impoverished, is not in the interest of the nation.

But the pro-subsidy agitators are afraid its removal would hurt ordinary Nigerians and the economy at large.  Where all parties are, however, united is in the need to restructure the NNPC and get the refineries working for better supply of products which would be sold at “appropriate” pump price according to market forces.


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