NNPC,Marketers Trade Blames As Fuel Queues Grow Across The Country

The fuel scarcity currently being experienced in some states in the country is as a result of the apprehension of fuel marketers over subsidy payment, investigation has revealed.
It was learnt over the weekend that marketers resorted to hoarding fuel sequel to their fear that they might not be paid their subsidies on imported fuel and, as a result, decided to create the scarcity as a way of forcing the government to speed up the process of effecting payment of the subsidy.
It was also gathered that the marketers could be creating the scarcity in order to compel the government to pay them the losses they incurred when the government reduced the pump price of petrol from N97 per litre to N87 per litre.
A top Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday that the corporation, which is responsible for about 50 per cent of the fuel supply in the country, was living up to its expectation, adding that the scarcity being experienced was a result of marketers who are hoarding the products.
The official, however, said that NNPC would step up its distribution of the products to cushion the effect on motorists, adding that there should be remarkable improvement by mid-week.
Last week, Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria (MOMAN) had appealed to the federal government to pay the N250billion subsidy owed the marketers in order to ensure sustainable supply of petroleum products.
Another issue raised by the association through its Executive Secretary, Obafemi Olawore, was the need for the government to increase the marketers’ profit margin.
According to Olawore, contrary to the insinuations in some quarters, MOMAN was not opposed to the reduction of pump price to N87 per litre “but government should also increase marketers’ margin of petroleum product.”
He added that marketers had been having the same margin since 2007, which was affecting the profitability of their business.
The MOMAN Executive Secretary had called on the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and other government agencies to take stock of products in their tanks before the change in pump price of petrol to ensure adequate refund to the marketers.
He had hinted that unless the PPPRA and others expedited action on coming to terms with marketers concerning the quantity of products in their tanks before the pump price change, it might be impossible for marketers to load new products.
Olawore, however, said that “The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has given a schedule of payment, which is between now and March, and this has been agreed to by us. We expect that all parties will keep their own sides of the agreement.
“There was a drop in fuel supply in the country, but the good news is that we met with the Minister of Finance and we have been promised and assured that our money will be ready between now and the end of March.
“We have agreed with the payment schedule. We believe her; the fuel supply situation, which was low before, will pick up. If any tightness in the purchase of fuel was experienced before now, it was just temporal. Products will be made available and we are going to play our part.”
Premium Motor Spirit was sold for between N87 and N110 per litre as scarcity of petrol bit harder in Lagos, Ogun and environs on Sunday.
When the Nigerian Tribune went round the metropolis on Sunday, it was discovered that most filling stations were under lock and key while few were actually dispensing to motorists who desperately queued for hours to get petrol.
An independent marketer, Al-Marouf petroleum situated at Ile-Epo along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway was selling at N90 as at Friday, and later adjusted the pump price to N110 per litre on Sunday.
However, MRS filling station at Ile-Zik, on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, was selling at N87 per litre; Total filling station at Mobolaji Bank Anthony way, beside Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, was dispensing at N87 per litre as well.
The same price was applicable at Mobil filling stations, Oando filling stations and Vamakko filling station at Shasha area of Lagos.
Most Conoil stations were shut on Sunday, while World Oil Petroleum, on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was selling to motorists at N87 per litre.
Scarcity of fuel in Abuja, which commenced at the weekend, persisted till Sunday.
The situation has also caused significant increase in transport fare, with commercial drivers capitalising on the situation to extort passengers, checks revealed.
The situation at some filling stations in the territory and witnessed long queues with motorists expressing frustration at the situation.
The queues persisted at the NNPC mega filling station located on the Kubwa Expressway, as well as NIPCO filling station located adjacent Kubwa second gate.
Stations like Oando, Mobil, Texaco and Mamu located at the axis shut their doors against customers.
Also at Berger junction area, stations like Texaco and Oando were not selling the products when the Nigerian Tribune visited.
Some motorists who spoke on the situation expressed frustration and anger, wondering why government could not intervene to ensure owners of the station opened their stations to customers.
They wondered why the country, which is a major oil producing state, could not boast of sufficient product as well as uninterrupted access to its citizens.
Some passengers also expressed sadness that transport fare in the territory had soared.
Kingsley Ugwu, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune, lamented that Abuja was always worst hit whenever there was such case of scarcity.
The price of petrol varied in Ibadan and other parts of Oyo State, as it was sold between N90 and N100 per litre.
Most of the filling stations visited by the Nigerian Tribune in Ibadan over the weekend sold for N90, N95 and N100 per litre, while some were still selling at the normal pump price of N87 per litre. Those selling above N87 gave the excuse that they bought the product more than the pump price right from the depot.
There were queues at filling stations where petrol was sold for N87 per litre, while limited queues were recorded where it was sold above the pump price. Some independent marketers did not bother to buy and sell the product, on the premise that they were not ready to sell above the pump price.
Some of the marketers, however, expressed optimism that normalcy will return this week, as a result of NNPC’s decision over the weekend to inject 688 million litres of petrol into circulation.
Meanwhile, the fuel scarcity has been attributed to 75 per cent cut in supply from the NNPC.
Confirming this to the Nigerian Tribune on phone, the Chairman Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Ibadan Depot, which covers Oyo and Osun states, Mr Kunle Busari, said: “The supply is not enough. There is 75 per cent cut in the supply from NNPC. Only major marketers have adequate supply due to the fact that they have installations in Lagos and they are also importers of petroleum products. Independent marketers rely solely on supply from NNPC.”
Scarcity of petrol seems to be hitting harder in Akure, Ondo State capital, and its environs with heavy queues around most filling stations that opened for business.
Across the capital city, there were queues in most of the filling stations while most of the stations which opened were not selling to customers, claiming shortage and scarcity of the petroleum products. Others were selling above the normal N87 pump price and it was same story from Owo to Akure and Igbaraoke, the boundary town with Osun State.
However, investigation revealed that the PMS was sold for between N100 and N120 per litre by some independent marketers, while a litre was sold for between N120 and N150 at the black market.
Our correspondent observed that the NNPC stations located at Alagbaka and Adegbola areas of the town were filled with motorists struggling to buy fuel with queue hindering free flow of vehicles on the ever busy road.
In Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, the fuel situation has improved when compared to the situation of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
A move around the town showed that more petrol stations opened for business and have the commodity for sale, when compared to the very few of them that opened for business before the weekend.
However, some of the residents of the town said the lull at the petrol stations was as a result of the weekend, and claimed that “when workers resume on Monday (today), queues may return and expose the true situation.”
The petrol station managers declined comment on the fuel situation, with one of them who chose to remain anonymous, saying “you can see we are selling fuel and there is no problem.”
He did not respond when asked how much the station was selling the commodity, saying “the price is on the pump.”
Some of the stations were selling the commodity at N100 per litre on Friday, after many of them were closed late on Thursday, but their meters still read N87 as the price.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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