Fuel scarcity in FCT: Marketers shifting supply to regions outside N165/l price band

MOST major marketers are shifting their supply of the premium motor spirit, widely known as petrol, to the South-East and other regions selling above the N165 per litre price band to recoup their gains, The ICIR findings have shown.

The marketers have also raised concerns about the debt they claimed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) is owing them on bridging cost, otherwise known as transportation cost

Already, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has asked Nigerians to prepare for the worst fuel crisis ever unless the federal government prevailed on the NMDPRA to pay its members their outstanding bridging claims, which was put at over N500 billion.


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The IPMAN chairman in Kano State, Bashir Danmalam, made the remark on Tuesday while addressing a news conference in the state.

Apart from the brigding cost debt, marketers are also complaining of the cost of diesel for transportation and about bad roads, which they said were putting pressure on their logistic costs.

A former president of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and Managing Director, 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc), Adetunji Oyebanji, told the ICIR that fuel supply to the Federal Capital Territory had been slow lately because marketers had been factoring logistic costs into their calculations and looking for where they can sell the product beyond the price band of N165 per litre.

Oyebanji said, “Trucks are shifting products to the South-East and other regions which have a flexible price regime and not controlled by the price band of N165 per litre. This is business; there is no sentiment. I am a marketer myself.

“Remember, our neighbouring countries also sell at a much higher price than N165 and most of our products find themselves to these regions because of porous borders.

“This is one of the difficulties of enthroning a price controlled regime. We are really shooting ourselves in the leg and I pray that labour that is breathing down our neck for the subsidy to be retained can see this.”

In the South-Eastern part of the country, fuel is sold at over N170  and above per litre, and is always available.

Also in the other parts of West Africa, fuel is sold well beyond the current price in Nigeria, fuelling concerns of smuggling.

THE ICIR reports that the Federal Government has approved the sum of N4 trillion to cover fuel subsidy payments this year.

Despite the approval, there has been intermittent fuel scarcity in some parts of the country, especially in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Motorists who spoke with our correspondent said they had to sleep at the filling station to get fuel.

“I slept at the AP filling station yesterday to be able to get fuel. It shouldn’t be like this. We are an oil producing nation, for crying out loud,” Mayowa Ilesanmi, a cab driver in Abuja told our correspondent.

Another cab driver in the FCT, Ikemefuna Okeke, told our correspondent that Nigeria should find a lasting solution to the recurring fuel crisis.




     

     

    “Why are there long queues at the filling stations, and the NNPC said they have enough stock? It is illogical.” Okeke, a graduate of International Relations turned cab driver said.

    The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) had said on Monday that the sudden appearance of fuel queues in some parts of Abuja was due to low loadouts at depots, which usually happens during long public holidays, in this case the Sallah celebrations.

    Another contributing factor to the scarcity and attendant long queues, the NNPC said, was increased demand, which was also usual with returning residents of the FCT from public holidays.

    But the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department, NNPC, Garba Muhammed, had assured residents of the FCT and, indeed, all Nigerians that the company had a national stock in excess of 2.5 billion litres, with sufficiency of more than 43 days.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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