The Federal Government has blamed the ongoing fuel scarcity on increased demand by nations in temperate regions.Addressing State House correspondents after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said: “This is winter period. There is always more demand for refined products from petroleum during winter in the colder countries. This is what we are experiencing now.”
Notwithstanding, he said the Council directed the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachukwu and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, to end the situation before the end of the week.Mohammed also insisted: “The government has no intention at all to increase the pump price of petrol.”
Marketers meanwhile are blaming the NNPC for alleged favouritism in distribution of petrol.The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) monitoring team visited five depots: Obat, Sahara, Nipco, Dee Jones and Aiteo yesterday and discovered an uneven allocation of products.
Consequently, the Assistant Director, Retail Outlets Monitoring, Downstream Division, DPR, Mrs. Ijeoma Otti-Onyeri, who led the team, compelled private depots with products to give priority to Lagos State in order to end scarcity.She ordered that 80 per cent of what was being loaded should be delivered to Lagos.
It was revealed during the visit, a total of 51,702,000 litres of petrol was in stock at Nipco, Sahara, Aiteo and Obat depots.
The DPR delegation urged Nigerians not to panic, saying there was enough stock for the next seven days. This was after disclosure that the PPMC was expecting two vessels in the next 48 hours.
Also, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said the inability of the NNPC to pump petrol to the Ejigbo satellite depot was aggravating the scarcity in Lagos.She said: “There is panic buying because there is speculation that there will be increase in the pump price of petrol. That is why we have to monitor depots, to find out if there is fuel.
“From what we have seen in Obat, Dee Jones, Sahara, Nipco and Aiteo, we have observed that all these depots have stock that can last for five to seven days.” She called on marketers who complained they were buying petrol at N141 per litre to show evidence, so that the DPR could act.
The chairman of IPMAN Lagos zone, Balogun Alanamu, said the NNPC management should be blamed for fuel queues across the country.
Alanamu, who is also the chairman of Ejigbo satellite branch of IPMAN, said the management of NNPC only allocated 20 trucks to marketers on daily basis out of 150 trucks that were being loaded.
He said: “We really do not know why they are deliberately giving us inadequate supplies and supplying the private depot owners. These people are selling to us above the recommended ex-depot price of N133.38 kobo per litre. NNPC officials are collaborating with the private depot owners to create artificial scarcity. They give the products to them. The private depot owners in turn sell to middlemen in bulk, who will later sell to independent marketers at N143 per litre.”
He added: “They are hiding behind these marketers to defraud us. They said they gave the product to private depot owners at N117 per litre ex-depot price. We expect they will sell to us at N133.38 per litre but they are not. And NNPC is not doing anything about it. We raised this issue at a recent seminar two weeks ago where Baru was represented. We implored him to investigate if we were lying. We also presented him with evidence, yet, nothing happened.”
Soirce: The Guardian