By Victor Ahiuma-YOUNG
ORGANISED Labour and other stakeholders associated with  petroleum products business in Nigeria have dismissed rumour of impending fuel scarcity in the country, describing the rumour as the handiwork of unscrupulous businessmen who wants to create panic and anxiety in the country.

Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, said  there was no cause for alarm as the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA,  had done it best to ensure adequate supply and flow of petroleum products in the country.

Speaking against the backdrop of fears expressed in some quatres of impending scarcity of petroleum products in the country by those said to have lost out in petroleum products import licences, President of PENGASSAN,  Comrade Babatunde Ogun, said that there would not be any form of fuel scarcity in the country, saying “some greedy and unscrupulous people are the ones behind the rumour of the scarcity.”

Comrade Ogun condemned perceived sponsors of the rumoured fuel scarcity and said they were just  discrediting the actual fuel situation in the country, to cause chaos,  panic and create room for profiteering. “Some greedy marketers who are found of speculating in order to create fear in Nigerians and cause panic buying and hoarding in order for them to cheat Nigerians and make more profits are behind the rumour.

The PENGASSAN President who is a board member of the PPPRA, said that the processes of allocation for importation of petroleum products into the country is competitive, free and fair as well as transparent.

According to him: “PPPRA is one of the agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that required domestic consumption is provided for and above. The agency has modalities in exercising this task and I can tell you as a board member of PPPRA that these modalities are strictly adhered to.

Some marketers, who have performed dismally in the past and failed to meet the requirements for fuel importation, should not use their selfish desires to create panic in this industry again.

Some of the criteria used in allocating importation of refined products are storage facility, throughput agreement and retail outlets, past record of performance, and financial capability, among others. It is certain that all marketers will not be given importation allocation at the same time, but it behove on the agencies saddled with this responsibility to be fair to all in their allocations without fear or favour.”

He, however, advised  any marketer who feels unfairly treated should protest to the board but not engage in campaign of calumny and attempt to swindle unsuspecting Nigerians by making them pay above the approved pump price through misinformation that can cause panic buying and hoarding as well as heating up the system.

Comrade Ogun added: “Marketers can not hold us to ransom again and government must wake up to their responsibilities to ensure we did not fall back to the old days of unnecessary scarcity again.

“There is need for competitiveness in the supply of white products and anybody who is unfairly treated or feel short changed have the right to protest or appeal to the board of the agency for restitution.

There is no reason for fuel scarcity at this critical period, all stakeholders must come together and salvage the industry. There should be no more monopoly and good business ethics must be strictly adhered to by all.”

A depot manager and a member of DAPPMA, Mr. S .I .C Okoli, said that there is no need to scarcity as long as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has guaranteed imports of petroleum products to boost local production for the nation’s refineries.

Okoli said, “We can not see why there should be any scarcity when the government has guaranteed the imports to support NNPC local production and the PPPRA has regularised the inputs programme and are involving the major marketers and DAPPMA with appropriate facility to handle the inputs.

“The banks are also cooperating to provide the funding. We believe that the supply of PMS has been normalised.”
Speaking in the same vein, a official NURTW, Comrade Kingsley Ukoh, said there has been renewed efforts by the PPPRA to ease importation and makes the processes free and fair and more competitive as well as transparent.

“I do not foresee a possible scarcity of fuel at the moment because of the renewed effort by the PPPRA in making sure that importation of fuel into the country is strictly supervised and efficiently supplied in large quantity to all nook and crannies of the country and this has been sustained for sometimes now,” he said.

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