NNPC price slash fails to end fuel queues

NNPC price slash fails to end fuel queues
NNPC price slash fails to end fuel queues

The queues for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, may continue in many states despite NNPC 17 kobo slash in the ex-depot price of the commodity, oil marketers stated on Wednesday.

Members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria said the supply of PMS by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited was still low, as many states outside Lagos and Abuja were not getting enough products.

They told our correspondent that though the queues for petrol were currently abating in major cities like Abuja and Lagos, most independent marketers in other states were still lacking products to dispense.

NNPC had reduced its ex-depot price of petrol from N148.17/litre to N148/litre, with a promise that independent marketers, who control about 85 per cent of the filling stations in Nigeria, would start getting the product at this new rate.

Reacting to this, the Secretary, IPMAN, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, said, “The price use to be N148.17/litre, but now 17 kobo has been removed and it is now N148/litre. It is not something big. However is that the solution?

“Even at N148.17, the marketers are ready to buy and distribute. Independent marketers control 85 per cent of the supply chain. If the fuel is available, they should mobilise independent marketers from Maiduguri, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Nasarawa, Kogi and Abuja.

“Let the marketers move with their trucks to wherever these products are, and distribute them. I want to assure you that if they do that, within one week the problem of fuel scarcity will be resolved

“But when the commodity is scarce, of course, you should know that the demand will be high. On the other hand, when it is surplus, the market forces will force demand down.”

He added, “So if they say they have slashed the price, it is good, but where is the product? They keep telling Nigerians not to panic, and that they have products. But it is only in major city centres that they have concentrated right now in terms of product supply.

“What about the other states and the suburbs of Abuja, places like Zuba, Karu, Kuje, Gwagwalada, etc? Are they getting the required supply there? If they are not getting, then there is going to be pressure inside the city centre.”

When told that the Department of State Service had earlier ordered marketers and NNPC to clear queues nationwide within a given time frame, Shuaibu stated that the security agency should have strived to get the details of the challenges confronting marketers.

“The 48 hours ultimatum has elapsed, is the fuel available everywhere now? By the time you drive outside Abuja and major cities, you cannot buy fuel at N180/litre” he stated.

The IPMAN official added, “So what’s the essence of subsidy when the ex-depot price in some locations is over N200/litre? Who will buy at that price and sell at N180/litre? Everybody will park their trucks, they will be afraid to buy because of these issues.

“As I am talking to you now, I can discharge five trucks in my station, but are my given a litre now? No! There are so many others like that. You take products to mega stations in the city and you say there are no more queues.”

Shuaibu also stated that NNPC should ensure that tank farm owners complied with the new ex-depot price regime so that every filling station would dispense the product at between N175 to N180/litre.

He said, “How come you (NNPC) import this product and you don’t have the facilities to store it, rather you go and dump it in private hands? And now they are selling at arbitrary prices and you (NNPC) are not talking.

“So something somewhere is wrong. That is why the DSS should investigate this and not just give 48 hours ultimatum.”

The National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, also noted that the availability of products was the major issue that should be tackled at the moment.

“The most important thing now is the adequate supply of petroleum products,” he stated.

The President, Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, also stated that the cost of petrol was not the major factor at the moment, rather its availability for marketers to distribute.

Punch

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