Amid a fresh scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit known as petrol in major cities like Lagos and Abuja, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the “unsustainable” price the essential product is sold by private depot owners.
IPMAN Deputy National President Zarama Mustapha spoke on Thursday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
For weeks, vehicle owners especially in Lagos and Abuja have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations. Whilst many outlets are closed, the few ones that are open sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.
The shortage of supply has led to long, grueling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to black market. The situation has also worsen traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.
Speaking on Thursday, Mustapha said private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited. However, they sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers.
He said though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners.
Mustapha said, “It is more of the issue of the private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at the price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.
“The agreed price as at now, NNPC sells to independent marketers at N148/litre but we don’t get the product at that rate, we get the product as high as N195 to N210 from the depot owners which is not really sustainable.”
“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.
The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transportation of the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.
Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.
Scarcity During Yuletide?
The IPMAN official, however, ruled out fuel scarcity during the 2022 Yuletide, saying the regulatory agencies are doing all they can to intervene and ensure the product is available at filling stations nationwide.
“There is no serious scarcity for now and I believe the management of NNPC, the regulatory bodies and others are doing everything possible to see that this Yuletide period, supply is going to be consistent, supply is going to be improved, and there will be available products in most of the filling stations.”
He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.
Mustapha also said some of the problems associated with the epileptic supply of petrol will be a thing of the past if the country’s four refineries are working.