fuel scarcity

•Long queues abound in Abuja, Lagos, others

•Flood depots with adequate stocks —IPMAN

•We insist on deregulation —MOMAN

•Electricity generation remains low at 3,317MW —Report

By Udeme Akpan, Ediri Ejoh, Obas Esiedesa & Joseph Oso

There were indications yesterday that the lingering petrol shortage is fueled by inadequate supply more than any other factor, according to Vanguard’s investigation.

The investigation showed that many oil marketers, especially the independent did not have the product at the filling stations.

Hence the filling stations were closed to transporters and other buyers, while long queues were visible at other stations, mostly the major oil marketers that had the product.

However, illegal operators were seen in not only Abuja, but also in Lagos and other cities, hawking the product.

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Although prices differed from one place to another, on the average, the product was sold for over N300 per litre, which culminated in higher fares as transporters passed the additional cost  to commuters.

A survey carried out by Vanguard showed  that areas including Ajegunle, Amukoko, Festac, Ago and others had crowd clustering to purchase the product, while others had their gates shut against customers because of shortage of the product.

For Jamfad oil at Orile, a pump attendant who confirmed to have been selling the product at night said “We operate our station from 4pm to 7pm, because we do not have enough fuel in our tanks. Hence we were asked to operate for three to five hours”.

 Speaking with one of the customers who identified herself as Kehinde, at Eternal oil and gas at Amukoko, he said, “the station sells for 185 per litre with a huge crowd seeking to get the product.”

At Ago, most stations were shut while Oando had long queues which stretched to the road as Nigerians were seen struggling to get the product.

Flood depots with adequate stocks —IPMAN

 In any case, the National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Debo Ahmed, said the petrol scarcity would continue until depots across the country are able to sell the product to marketers without delays.

Ahmed who spoke to Vanguard yesterday said the government owned depots inland were still dry or without petrol in stock making it difficult for marketers to access the products across the country.

Checks around Abuja yesterday showed that most petrol stations were closed with long queues noticed at a few stations owned by major marketers.

Ahmed explained that the current shortage was a direct result of insufficient supply across the country, adding that marketers were relying on privately owned depots at the coastal areas for petrol.

“Even this is not enough as most of them do not have the product. I can tell that all the 25 government depots do not have petrol. The problem we have now is that of insufficiency of the product. We need the country to be wet with petrol. The only way to end the crisis is for NNPC to import more of the product and make it available to marketers.

“We are just a link in the market, we do not import petrol. If petrol is available, we will buy and sell to our customers, which is why we are in business.

“The other thing is for the government to ensure that the private depots sell to marketers at government-controlled price because presently we are loading at N158-N163 per litre which makes it practically impossible to sell at N165 per litre.

“There is also the high cost of doing business. Now we use diesel in all our operations, from moving the trucks from the depots to the stations and for operating the pumps to sell to customers.”

Diesel price hovers at N800 per litre

 He also said: “Diesel is currently N800 per litre, it used to be N300 per litre, and you cannot compare both scenarios. We are finding it very difficult to operate and that is why many stations are closed and the scarcity will continue until the government addresses these issues.”

Ahmed also urged the government to pay bridging claims adding though the process was continuous, it is important that past claims are paid to marketers.

He noted that while the recent increase in freight rate would help the marketers, the huge gap remains, adding “let them pay the accumulated bridging claims. It is not enough to just increase the rate; accumulated claims should also be paid”.

Some independent marketers, who spoke to Vanguard lamented the rise in the price of diesel to N800 per litre, from as low as N300 per litre in the past few months.

For instance, a source at Femoye Oil and Gas Limited, located at Amukoko, Lagos, said: “all through the weekend the petrol station was closed due to the challenge of purchasing diesel required to power their tankers to convey the product to the station. However, our outlet might remain closed if the situation does not get better.”

Energy crisis is a global issue — CPPE

 Similarly, the immediate past Director-General of LCCI and CEO, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, Dr. Muda Yusuf, maintained that a holistic approach is needed to salvage the sector.

 “We need to tackle the problem in the sector systemically and find a sustainable solution to the  crisis. The issue is that the government seems to be overstretched as far as resources to supply are concerned.

“If we are not careful, this system can bring down the economy entirely, particularly the public sector as well as the whole macroeconomic system. All these issues are about funding importation and transportation. The whole system is not particularly transparent. For petrol, first the subsidy is gulping a lot and we have a monopoly situation which involves the government importing these products. And when you have a monopoly situation, you create an opportunity for massive exploitation.”

We insist on deregulation —MOMAN

 However, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, has called for full deregulation of the downstream sector, arguing that it remains the only way of attracting substantial investments into the sector.

In a document obtained by Vanguard, MOMAN stated; “The full deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector and full implementation of the PIA 2021 clearly remains the most viable long-term solution to the country’s supply and distribution challenges.

“MOMAN, as an association, fears that the current supply framework cannot guarantee steady and consistent supplies to the country, given the current state of government finances and unpredictable international supply shortages. We, therefore, recommend a gradual price deregulation with targeted palliatives (eg. transport and agricultural subsidies) to the public to ease implementation.”

Electricity generation remains low at 3,317MW — Report

Meanwhile, power generation, yesterday, remained low at 3,317.5 megawatts, MW, according to the Nigeria Electricity System Operator.

This was insufficient for transmission and distribution to over 200 million people in different parts of the nation.

Consequently, many households and organisations, which dwelt in darkness, were compelled to generate their independent power at higher cost.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.