We have 300m litres 20-day supply of clean petrol; 39,000mt vessel waiting to offload — FG

By Obas Esiedesa

The Federal Government denied yesterday it planned to hike the pump price of petrol, despite the increase in price from N180 per litre to N235 by independent marketers.

The government in a statement by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, insisted that the country had 34 days of sufficiency in stock, despite visible evidence of shortage across the country.

Checks around Abuja, the nation’s capital, yesterday, showed that most petrol stations were closed to motorists, while a few stations selling the product jerked up pump price to between N235 and N260 per litre; it was sold at N350 per litre in the black market.

NMDPRA stated: “This advisory addresses speculations on the price and availability of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.

“The Authority wishes to inform the general public that the Federal Government has no intention of increasing the price of PMS during this period.

“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) has imported PMS with current stock levels sufficient for 34 days.

“Consequently, Marketers and the general public are advised to avoid panic buying, diversion of products, and hoarding.

In keeping with the Authority’s responsibilities, as outlined in the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, the agency assured the public that it would continue to monitor the supply and distribution of all petroleum products nationwide, especially during Yuletide.

But speaking to Vanguard, yesterday, the Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Chinedu Ukadike, blamed the scarcity of petrol on supply shortage.

Ukadike said most filling stations were out of stock because the product was not available at government-owned depots operated by the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC.

He attributed the hike in the price of the product to the increase in cost of purchasing it at the privately-owned depots.

He also faulted the claims that the country has 34 days sufficiency, saying “products do not hide, if it is available, marketers will have it”.

He said: “There is inadequate supply of petroleum products by PPMC. The government owned depots are empty and independent marketers have had to rely on private depots for supply at exorbitant prices.

“So we have many people chasing the small quantity that is available. It is the simple law of demand and supply playing out.

“The distribution channels do not favour independent marketers and the business environment is tough on us,” he stated.

Ukadike explained that independent marketers were loading at the private depots at N215 per litre, instead of the government approved price of N145.60.

“If you load at that rate, then add cost of transportation and other logistics, it is impossible to sell at the price approved by the government. So at the independent filling station, pump price ranges from N230 to N240.

“That is why you have very long queues at NNPC retail stations and virtually no queues at the few independent stations selling the products.”

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