As Fuel Scarcity, Blackout Bite Harder, Marketers Blame Lack Of Products, Forex

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  • NNPCL Has Stopped Importing Enough Fuel To Meet Nigerians Demand- Fuel Marketers
  • Warn That Scarcity Will Linger Till January
  • Angst As NNPCL, Petroleum Ministers Keep Mum
  • It’s The Usual Christmas Gift To The Poor- Nigerians

By Babajide Okeowo

Nigerians are currently battling with the double trouble of a scathing fuel scarcity that has rocked the major parts of the country and a blackout from the country’s erratic power supply, which has plunged many homes into pitch darkness.

This is even as the Independent Petroleum Association of Nigeria (lPMAN) has attributed the current fuel scarcity to the unavailability of petroleum products and difficulty in accessing foreign exchange by marketers.

Mr Mike Osatuyi, the Operations Controller of lPMAN, made the remarks in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday.

Osatuyi said it had become necessary to inform the general public that the lingering scarcity of petrol was due to the unavailability of the product.

He alleged that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd., had stopped importing enough petrol to meet demand in the country.

We are experiencing scarcity because the product is not available.

“The price of a litre of petrol at private depots is currently between N205 and N210 as against N162.50.

“The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd., is the sole importer of refined petroleum products, which are not readily available to marketers,” he said.

Osatuyi explained that his members bought petrol at over N200 per litre from private depots, making it impossible for them to sell at a regulated pump price.

“Besides, such a trend is unsustainable given the fact that private depots also sell the product at an unofficial rate different from that of NNPCL.

“When we add the cost of transportation and levies, it will run into N217 per litre. At what prices do you want marketers to sell, knowing fully well that we are in business to make a profit.

“My members are groaning over the increase in the cost of petrol from the depot and they suffer a lot to get it.

“If fuel is there why will we not sell, but there is no fuel? Our members are selling petrol between N230 and N240 per litre at filling stations,” he added.

The effect of the worsening petrol scarcity in the country is characterized by the presence of long queues and crowds at bus stops across many states.

Many filling stations are under lock and key while the few stations that have the product are selling at prices different from the approved pump prices.

For example, the product is selling for between N250-N500 in major states of the country like Lagos, Delta, Kano, Ogun, Sokoto, Rivers, Plateau, Edo, Kwara and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to mention a few amid a very long queue.

Many Nigerians lamented spending several hours in long queues at the filling stations, which has frustrated them.

“We are buying at the rate of N250 and the queues are so much that you will be frustrated” one Nigerian lamented.

This development is coming as marketers, under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), warned that due to some circumstances including logistic challenges, and the introduction of some new charges in the downstream oil sector, which had given rise to a hike in the ex-depot price of petrol, all these concerns could further make the current fuel queues to linger beyond December.

This position was given by the Deputy National President of IPMAN, Zarma Mustapha, who stated that the queues would likely continue till December, but noted that efforts were on to address the hitches.

He said, “The on and off queues are due to issues of logistics in terms of supply of the commodity to the retail outlets from either the mother vessel to the private depot owners and from there to independent and major marketers’ stations.

“There are a series of logistics issues as regards the supply chain. But the government and stakeholders are engaging in order to get a solution to these issues. However, we believe that this will be addressed, though it may drag beyond December.”

The oil marketer also raised an alarm that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited had refused to give its members products.

“NNPC refuses to give us fuel. We buy from third parties and can sell at any price because if the landing cost to our stations is N218 per litre, how much do you expect us to sell? So, the public should expect fuel at any price, depending on the area,” Mr Mike Osatuyi, IPMAN National Controller Operations disclosed.

Meanwhile, there are growing concerns over the graveyard silence by the various authorities regarding the issue. On its end, the sole importer of the commodity, the NNPCL, has kept mum with no official correspondence on the issue.

Rather than speak on the matter, the Federal Government, through its Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority also chose to remain mute.

Officials of the agency neither answered calls nor replied to text messages sent to their mobile phones on issues of the scarcity of petrol nationwide.

There were also worries that the Minister of Petroleum, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva have also maintained stoic silence without addressing the suffering populace.

My problem with all this is how can a country like ours be going through a thing like this and no one is telling us the cause?

What is the use of having a government where everyone does as they please? The president isn’t saying anything, minister of petroleum isn’t saying anything.

Fueling stations sell for whichever price they so wish as there is no fixed price for fuel anymore.

It’s very sad” Omoben Onah lamented on Facebook.

Also, many Nigerians are faulting the NNPCL for reneging on their promises that there won’t be fuel scarcity this December with many saying it is the usual Christmas gift from the government.

“It always happens during any Christmas period but scarcity will never happen during Muslim festivals. Don’t be surprised if they reintroduce the Covid-19 test again during this Christmas period” Nnamdi Obinwe also alleged.

“It’s not new to us, it has been a Christmas gift to the poor” Chumas Okeke tersely wrote.

As if the fuel scarcity is not enough, many homes across the country have been plunged into darkness as the erratic power supply is now the order of the day.

” It is not a funny issue at all, there is no fuel as the queue is so long and I do not even know when or if I will get fuel at all, yet, there is no power. We have not had light for more than two days now and no fuel to power my generating set, it is indeed double jeopardy” Emmanuel Aladelese lamented.

 

 





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