By Adeola Badru
Vice-Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Western Zone, Mr. Joseph Oyewale-Akanni, yesterday, attributed the current fuel scarcity and increase in the pump price to the hike in private depot prices.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to deregulate the oil sector to prevent frequent fuel scarcity encountered by Nigerians.
The IPMAN boss, in a chat with Vanguard, said the price at which private depot owners sell petrol across the country was not sustainable.
Oyewale-Akanni said: “Since February this year, there has been no loading in any depot. We have five depots of NNPC in the South-West but since February this year, none is working.
“We went to a private depot and by the name private depot, we mean it is individually owned and anything private will have control by itself. On the government’s part, the price NNPC was giving them was N113 per litre but they are the ones to use small vessel badges to load from the modern vessels. They add the cost to it, but ought to sell to us at N178.17k. Rather, we marketers don’t know what happened between NNPC and the owner of the vessel; they hiked the price.
“As of today, we are buying at N212,215 from the private depot in Lagos and we need to transport it to Ibadan or Ilorin. The private depots are the main cause of this scarcity now because the price NNPC was selling to them since was N113.
“They are still selling to them at that price. They are the ones selling to us at exorbitant rates, instead of selling to us at N114 or 117, we, private marketers at N178 and N114, the public at N180, but we are buying from them at N212 and N215 as of today.
“The Federal Government itself is not helping matters. If our refineries are working, there will be no scarcity again, but the problem is that our refineries are not working. We rely on private depots and private depots are into business because if we ask, they would say they are buying in dollars to pay the transporters. It’s not easy and everyone knows the cost of dollars to naira now.”
Nobody can fix price now
Speaking further, he said: “Nobody can fix the price now. When the scarcity started, we started from N190, N195 and then, N200, depending on what we bought from Lagos to know what we would fix. If private depots start selling to us at N148.17k, we would also revert to N180, but as of now, what they are selling is what our people are selling between N250 and N260 in Oyo and Osun States.
“If the Federal Government can look into private depots now, and force them to reduce the price to N148.17k everything will be okay.
“If the Federal Government fully deregulates the product, there will be no problem, but if they do it partially, the problem will persist. If they allow private investors to import fuel, it will be okay.”