The Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria yesterday insisted that its members can no longer import and sell petrol at N145 per litre.
This is even as the Federal Government has set up a committee to find a long term solution to fuel crisis in the country.
DAPMAN Chairman Dapo Abiodun told State House reporters late that there was no subsidy on petrol at the moment.
He said for the price to remain N145/litre, the government had to find other ways to manage the situation as marketers could no longer import and sell at N145.
“There is no subsidy at the moment. The government in its wisdom has decided that the N145 cap will remain because of what they consider will be consequences on Nigerians. This is a government of the people and they believe Nigerians should not be made to buy fuel for more than N145. So if that is to remain then we have to find other ways to manage the situation so that we will continue to sell fuel at N145.
“As far as we are concerned, there is no subsidy in the budget, as far as we are concerned, marketers cannot import and sell at N145. So, government has to find a way and ensure that marketers themselves import alongside NNPC and still sell at N145. So, when we meet with the minister tomorrow (today), we will find solutions to see how that can be sustained,” he stated.
He explained that crude prices had remained relatively stable from January to December until his members lost the ability to import and sell at N145 per litre when the prices went up due to the hurricane Katrina in September/October.
“In the past, marketers bring in about 60%, while NNPC about 35 to 40%. But by October, marketers completely stopped importing because there no more subsidy. So, we can’t sell for profit, so we have to stop importing and the burden of importing 100% now fell on NNPC. So you can imagine a situation where NNPC was importing in part and marketers were importing in part and then suddenly NNPC begins to import 100%.
“In the ember months from October to December, the consumption of petrol is highest in the country, so you now have what we call a double warning. NNPC is suddenly finding its importing what they probably didn’t expect in terms of volume and the fact that Nigerians themselves are consuming more volume than they’ll normally consume in earlier months coupled with the fact that the countries that are surrounding us as a nation are all selling fuel at more than $1 per liter. $1 today is about N360. If you go to Cotonou, Ghana, Niger, So, it is not unlikely that some of our petrol is finding itself across the boarder to these countries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, said the meeting was convened to find out what led to the problem in fuel supply during the Yelutide period and take measures to avoid a recurrence.
On how close the government is to that lasting solution, the minister responded: “We are going to sit down and find lasting solution.”
The National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said with yesterday’s meeting, “Nigerians should go home and be glad because the issues of constant fuel supply have been resolved.”