By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
Abuja — The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, have assured Nigerians of regular products’ supply, after weeks of uncertainty and instability in the downstream sector, which led to the re_emergence of fuel queues in filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and other parts of the North.
The President of IPMAN, Alhaji Aminu Abdulkadir, told journalists at a briefing in Abuja that only the assurance of security in different parts of the country would ensure adequate distribution of products, stressing that his members have no reason not to distribute petroleum products to areas where they are needed.
He said, “The government and relevant authorities have to assure us of adequate security for our members and our businesses; once that is done, then our members would be ready to move products to these places.
“Like you know, the main reason for the fuel crisis in some parts of the country was a direct consequence of the wanton and unnecessary killing of our members and the burning and destruction of our businesses during the post election violence.”
Abdulkadir lauded the implementation of the 45 percent increase in the freight rate by the Federal Government, but noted that the substantial increase in the price of LGO was a huge challenge for members of the association.
According to him, “The unprecedented rise in the price of LGO has been a sore point in our discussions with the government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. We have requested that the NNPC, in the meantime, to supply products to designated depots to serve as a temporary measure to avert the lingering scarcity.
“When the present template for products supply was drawn a few months ago the price of LGO was N65, today the price has risen astronomically to N200. This has affected the distribution of petroleum products across the country and we would like government to do something about it as soon as possible.”
Abdulkadir also stressed that the association would not guarantee much stability in the distribution of products in the face of rising cost of products.
He added that, “When the price of LGO is moving up endlessly like we have in the past weeks, there may be no end to products scarcity since no marketer will be willing to take unwarranted risks. That is why we have suggested a short_term intervention across the 21 depots in order ensure regular supply of petroleum products.
“We are grateful to the NNPC for the cooperation it has shown so far, but we would them to do even more to alleviate the challenges faced by marketers in the downstream sector.”
Meanwhile, the IPMAN boss added that the association was committed to improving its products distribution system by over 40 percent in order to ensure that the sector bounces back quickly from the scarcity.
According to him, “We are confident that with the swift implementation of the 45 percent freight rate increase, and the arrival of the intervention stock from the NNPC, our marketers are now encouraged to take products to where they are needed.
“In fact, we are committed to improve our services by over 40 percent in the coming days to make sure that scarcity id averted.”
He noted that contrary to speculation that IPMAN members were benefitting from the instability and chaos in the sector, “we have been the greatest victims because it is our businesses that have suffered in the past few weeks.