The Independent Petroleum Marketers of Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) yesterday blamed fresh nationwide fuel scarcity on unavailability of petrol for the marketers to load from the petrol depots.
Its Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Dankigari, who spoke to The Nation on telephone yesterday, added that members of the association have 8,000 tickets pending that it has not been able to load.
He said over the past few weeks, private depots owners have been selling petrol at a price higher than the official N77 per litre to marketers, lamenting that the depots have all goen dry.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has warned depot owners against selling petrol above the approved ex-depot price of N77 per litre.
In a statement, its Group General Manager, Group Public Afdairs Division, Mr. Ohi Alegbe yesterday said the warning came against the backdrop of repeated complaints by marketers of sharp practices at the depots.
The statement quoted the minister as warning that depot owners found to be involved in selling products above the approved ex-depot prices would be severely sanctioned.
Dankigari blamed fuel scarcity on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that is responsible for the importation of 78 per cent of the product to the country.
He said: “The issue is that even where we are loading, there is no product. We already have more than 8,000 tickets but we have not been able to load.
“Even the private depots that used to sell the products at a higher rate no longer have the product to sell. So, that is the reason why you have been seeing those queues. The NNPC is only agency of government responsible for bringing the products into the country.”
IPMAN had in the penultimate week raised the alarm over the imminence of another fresh round of fuel scarcity as private depot owners were selling petrol for N97 per litre to marketers. Last week, the association further cried out that the depot owners had increased the price to N102 instead of N77 per litre.
This, according to Dakingari, posed a great barrier to the marketers who avoided purchasing a product for N102 per litre and selling N86.50 per litre.
Most petrol stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were yesterday shut, a situtaion that affected vehicular traffic in the city.
Alegbe has assured of sufficient supply of petrol as it took delivery of four more cargoes of the product at the weekend to keep the country wet. The state-run oil firm said the deliveries which amount to about 180 million litres is part of a new arrangement by the corporation to have a cargo of PMS delivered daily as from March.
“The NNPC has stepped up collaboration with the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and other downstream industry players to end the resurgence of fuel queues in some major cities across the country especially in Lagos and its environs,” Alegbe explained.
The NNPC stated that it has secured the commitment of the leadership of MOMAN for effective collaboration in this regard and assured that the queues will disappear in few days time as supplies are ramped up across the country.
“To achieve this, truck-out to filling stations in the Lagos area has been increased from the regular 245 to 295 trucks per day (9.7 million) while truck-out to fuel stations in Abuja from Suleja depot has been stepped up to 210 trucks per day (6.9million litres) from the regular supply of 160 trucks per day.
“Similar increment in supply volume has been activated in the Port Harcourt, Calabar, Kano and Kaduna areas to ensure seamless availability of petroleum products across every nook and cranny of the country,” he said.
While appealing for understanding and support from members of the public, the NNPC assured that it is doing everything possible to end the prevailing challenges experienced by motorists, commuters and the general public in accessing petrol.
“Within the last 48 hours we have received six cargoes of petrol (270 million litres) and beginning from 1st March, 2016 we shall begin to receive one cargo of petrol every day (45 million litres),’’ NNPC assured.
The NNPC also said Dr. Kachikwu has directed the full activation of an Intra-Ministerial Joint Monitoring Task Force made up of officials of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), and the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) to ensure and enforce compliance to laid down rules and regulations governing the supply and distribution of petroleum products.