Fuel marketers raised the alarm yesterday – depots are empty.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has promised to flood depots with petrol but the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) said the corporation was yet to send petrol to its members’ depots.
The scarcity subsided yesterday in Lagos and Ibadan, with more filling stations selling petrol at the officials N145 per litre.
In Abuja, NNPC was battling hoarders, shutting down filling stations.
The situation was critical in Kaduna, Ilorin and many other cities.
DAPPMA’s Executive Secretary Olufemi Adewole, in a statement in Lagos, urged the NNPC to help the association so as to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.
“Our members’ depots are empty. However, if the PPMC/NNPC can provide us with petrol, we are ready to do 24-hour loading to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians and for the fuel queues to be totally eliminated.
“We, petroleum products marketers, do empathise with all Nigerians who are going through difficulties at this time by spending hours on fuel queues because of the current fuel scarcity due to no fault of theirs
”DAPPMA members import about 65 per cent of the nation’s total fuel consumption, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) imports about 15 per cent and PPMC/NNPC import the balance of 20 per cent.
“However, this scenario changed drastically due to several challenges faced by marketers.’’
The DAPPMA official claimed that its members paid PPMC/NNPC in advance for petroleum products.
He said fully paid-up petrol orders, which have neither been programmed nor loaded, exceeded 500,000MT (about 800,000,000 litres).
“As at today, there is enough petrol to meet the nation’s needs for 19 days at a daily estimated consumption of 35,000,000 litres. Sadly, some people have blamed marketers for hoarding products. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.
”Hoarding is regarded as economic sabotage and we assure all Nigerians that our members are not involved in such illicit act.
“While all kinds of allegations have been made in the media, it is important to set the records straight, as Nigerians first and as responsible business men and women who employ Nigerians.
”As it stands today, NNPC has been the sole importer of PMS into the country since October,’’ Adewole said.
He said the current import price of petrol is about N170 per litre, with NNPC, which absorbs the subsidy on behalf of the Federal Government, as the importer of last resort.
”The international price of petrol went up during the period of Hurricane Katrina and it has not dropped below USD$600/MT since then.”
Adewole said the exchange rate of the dollar to the Naira is N306 for petrol imports and the interest rate banks charge is above 25 per cent.
”Landing cost of PMS in Nigeria is above N145 per litre, which means any of our members that import will have to resort to subsidy claims, a policy already jettisoned by the government.
”It is on record that any time NNPC assumes the role of sole importer; there are issues of distribution, because it is marketers who own 80 per cent of the functional receptive facilities and retail outlets in Nigeria.
”While we cannot confirm or dispute NNPC’s claim of having sufficient product stock, we can confirm that the products are not in our tanks and, as such, cannot be distributed.
”If the products are offshore, then surely it cannot be considered to be available to Nigerians,’’ he said.
An oil and gas merchant, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho has attributed the persistent scarcity of petrol to NNPC’s monopoly.
Iheanacho, a former Minister of Interior in the Goodluck Jonathan administration, who is the Chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd., told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos yesterday that inability of the NNPC to create a window for private importers to import petrol also contributed to the scarcity.
He said the shortage was caused by the landing cost margin of N171 per litre and the selling cost pegged at N 145 per litre.
”The selling of the product at N145 per litre is no longer feasible with the current exchange rate.
”Shortage of foreign exchange and increase in crude prices have made it unprofitable to import petrol and sell same at N145 per litre.
”The problem is that importation of petrol is being handled, almost 100 per cent, by NNPC, while private importers backed out because the increase in crude price has made the landing cost high,’’ he said.
Iheanacho said the marketers’ huge debts of over N800 billion had also contributed to the inability to import petrol.
He said most independent marketers had closed their companies due to inability to pay their workers. Iheanacho urged the Federal Government to settle all the outstanding debts owed marketers since 2015.
Loading of petrol has begun in Apapa, Lagos.
Hundreds of trucks were on queue yesterday, waiting to load petrol at Total, Forte Oil, Oando Plc, MRS, NIPCO and other private depots.
In the city, long queues of motorists persist in many filling stations in the metropolis.
In Ikorodu, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Oshodi, Ajegunle, Ikotun, Bariga and Sango-Ota, some stations were selling petrol for between N180 and N200 per litre.
In Ikorodu many filling stations were selling at N200 per litre. Only a few were selling at the official N145 per litre.
Commercial buses increased their fares by more than 100 per cent, claiming that they bought petrol above the official price.
A NAN report said that the fare from Ikorodu Garage to CMS increased from N300 to N350 before the scarcity to N1000.
From Epe to Ketu, passengers were being charged N1, 500 as against N700 they were paying before the scarcity. The fare from Ketu to Costain was between N300 and N500