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Fuel scarcity: Marketers counter NNPC, say ‘our depots are empty’

The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA) has denied claims that petroleum products, especially premium motor spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol, is available in their tanks and depots.

This contradicted claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it has enough products being trucked out daily by marketers to ease fuel scarcity being experienced by Nigerians.

In a statement by DAPPMA, signed by its executive secretary, Mr Femi Adewole, the marketers agreed that landing cost had risen to about N170 per litre which is above the recommended retail price of N145 per litre.

According to the statement, “Landing cost of PMS in Nigeria is above N145 per litre, which means any of our members that imports would have to resort to subsidy claims, a policy already jettisoned by the Federal Government.

“It is on record that any time NNPC assumes the role of the sole importer, there are issues of distribution.

“While we cannot confirm or dispute NNPC’s claim of having sufficient product stock, we can confirm that the products are not in our tanks and as such cannot be distributed. If the products are offshore, then surely, it cannot be considered to be available to Nigerians.”

Furthermore, it argued that NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol since October and that NNPC imports and distributes through DAPPMA; Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).

“Our members pay PPMC/NNPC in advance for petroleum products and fully paid up PMS orders that have neither been programmed nor loaded in excess of 500,000MT (about 800,000,000 litres) as at today and enough to meet the nation’s needs for 19 days at a daily estimated consumption of 35,000,000 litres.

“Our members’ depots are presently empty. However, if PPMC/NNPC can provide us with PMS, we are ready to do 24 hours loading and truck out to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians until these fuel queues are totally eliminated,” it stated.

It said fuel marketers remained committed to the progress of the nation and its citizenry as therein “lies our own profitability and fulfilment.”

In a related development, an oil and gas merchant, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, has attributed the persistent scarcity of petrol to NNPC monopoly.

Iheanacho, also the chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, on Tuesday, that inability of NNPC to create a window for private importers also contributed to the scarcity.

According to him, the current shortage in fuel importation gap was caused by the landing cost margin of N171 per litre and the selling cost pegged at N145 per litre.

Iheanacho said that this was not realistic for marketers to import and sell at that rate.

“The selling of the product at N145 per litre is no longer feasible with the current exchange rate.

“Shortage of foreign exchange and increase in crude prices have made it unprofitable to import petrol and sell same at N145 per litre.

“The problem is that importation of petrol is being handled, almost 100 per cent, by NNPC, while private importers backed out because the increase in crude price has made the landing cost high,’’ he said.

Iheanacho said that the marketers’ huge debts of over N800 billion had also contributed to the inability of marketers to import petrol.

He said that most independent marketers had closed their companies due to inability to pay their workers.

Iheanacho urged the Federal Government to settle all the outstanding debts owed marketers since 2015.

According to him, commercial banks have started taking over the property and tank farms of some companies that could not pay back their loans.

 

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