ByÂ Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€” PETROL scarcity continued in Port Harcourt yesterday, thus causing long queues at few filling stations dispensing the product.
This comes as marketers and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, have blamed the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, for the scarcity in the state capital.
In separate comments theÂ Â DPR, Port Harcourt zone, and marketers traced the situation to what they described as failure of the PPMC to supply marketers in the state.
Speaking while inspecting sale of petroleum products at filling stations in the state, leader of the team, Head Upstream, DPR, Mr. Ayah Robinson, said about 60 percent of the stations visited were not in business because of absence of the products.
According to him, there are insinuations that the PPMC was giving more attention to Abuja and Lagos State, with a view to creating the picture before the authority that there was enough petrol for consumption in the country.
â€œIf there is no product, what do we monitor? The concentration of supply is in Lagos and Abuja and this is to tell the government that the product is available while people are suffering down here with long queues everywhere.Â Â In fact, the supply here is grossly inadequate,â€ Robinson said.
He quoted Deputy Manager, Retail Outlet Marketing, Isah Abdulahi as saying that at the moment, Port Harcourt zone was getting only twenty five trucks of the product, a situation he said contrasted with what it was in the past when the zone got about 58 to 60.
He said in spite of the shortfall in supply of the product, there were still sharp practices by some marketers.
This, he said, forced the DPR to sanction eleven filling stations during recent inspection of fuel stations in the state capital.
â€œIf we can be getting about 50 to 60 trucks in this zone, it would go along way to tackle the problems of scarcity in the state,â€ he noted.
At some of the filling station visited, there were complaints that they had not lifted product from PPMC in the last six months.
The marketers said the situation even forced some of them to seek the product at private depots in far away Lagos State and other states.
â€œWe travel to Lagos and other states from Port Harcourt to buy products just to remain in business,â€said some dealers.