April 29, 2024

Fuel scarcity’ll last for 2 more weeks — IPMAN

Fuel Scarcity

By Theodore Opara, Transport Editor, Udeme Akpan, Ediri Ejoh, Ibrahim Hassan, Bashir Bello & Mariam Eko

LAGOS — The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, said yesterday that the petrol scarcity currently spreading to more states across the country will take at least two weeks to normalise.

This is even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NPCL insisted yesterday that it has adequate stock of the product.

However, the Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, Chinedu Ukadike, said the product is not available in the country.
He said it has become a bit of a challenge to source the product because most refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance.

‘Importation bottlenecks behind scarcity’

Ukadike also blamed the acute shortage in supply on importation bottlenecks and the slow pace of marketers’ licence renewal by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA.

He disclosed that only 1,050 marketers out of 15,000 have had their licences renewed by NMDPRA.

He said: “The situation is that there is no product. Once there is a lack of supply or inadequate supply, what you will see is scarcity and queues will emerge at filling stations.

“On the part of NNPCL, which is the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria, they have attributed the challenge to logistics and vessel problems.

“Once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because we depend on imports. I also have it on good authority that most of the refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance, so sourcing petroleum products has become a bit difficult.

NNPC Group CEO has assured us that there will be improvement in the supply chain because their vessels are arriving. Once that is done, normalcy will return. This is because once the 30-day supply sufficiency is disrupted, it takes two to three months to restore it.

“We expect that by next week or so, NNPC should be able to restore supply and with another week, normalcy should return”.

On challenges faced by marketers in renewing their licences, he said: “NNPC has said the marketers who have not been able to renew their licences will not be allowed to remain on their portal which has been shut for some time now. Because of this, we have not been able to request new products.

“At this nascent period of deregulation, you will discover that this leads to scarcity, even when the product arrives. As it is now, even by their data, out of 15,000 marketers that are on the portal with licences, only 1,050 renewed their licences.

“The requirement for renewal by NMDPRA is so much. Marketers are facing a hostile environment. NNPC placed a deadline of April 15, 2024, for marketers to renew their licences.

“We are, therefore, appealing to NNPC to extend this deadline and also to NMDPRA to hasten the release of licences of marketers who have completed their processes, and also reduce bottlenecks around licence renewals”.

We have adequate stock— NNPC Ltd

However, reacting to the crisis yesterday, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Ltd, Olufemi Soneye, expressed optimism that the long queues will clear in the coming days, adding that NNPC Ltd has adequate stock.

He stated: “The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, wishes to clarify that the tightness in the supply of Premium Motor Spirit currently being experienced in some areas across the country is a result of logistics issues and they have been resolved.

“It also wishes to reiterate that prices of petroleum products are not changing. It urges Nigerians to avoid panic buying as there are sufficient products in the country.”

Fuel queues will be cleared — MEMAN

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Secretary, Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Clement Isong, said: “As the NNPC Ltd said, there were logistics issues and they have been resolved. The marketers who have fuel, are working round the clock and the queues will be cleared in the coming days.”

However, the shortage of petrol witnessed in Nasarawa, Niger, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, last week, spread to Lagos, Oyo, Osun and other states, weekend, thus affecting the movement of goods and persons and by extension, the nation’s economy.

In Lagos, motorists and other users woke up yesterday to witness long queues at the few filling stations which had the product to sell, while many outlets belonging mostly to independent marketers, without the product, were closed.

However, some major marketers, including 11 Plc and NNPC Ltd, with stocks sold the product at over N600 per litre, while the few independent marketers with the product sold it at between N650 and N700 per litre, depending on location.

Petrol hits N900 per litre on black market

Checks by Vanguard indicated that many motorists and other users were compelled by circumstances to patronise black market operators who openly sold the product along Ikorodu Road, Isolo and other locations in jerry cans at between N900 and N1,000 per litre.

Further checks indicated that transporters increased fares by 100 per cent to cover the high cost of petrol.
For instance, commuters paid N2,000 from Mile 12 to Mile 2, a distance that used to cost them N1,000, while others paid N1,000 from CMS to Mile 2, which previously cost about N500.

Scarcity bites harder in Kano

The fuel situation in the ancient city of Kano worsened yesterday as most of the petroleum stations were shut.
Vanguard checks observed long queues in the few filling stations still dispensing the product in the state capital.
It was observed that independent marketers and some major marketers who were seen selling fuel sold it as high as between N850 and N900 per litre.

In an interview with Vanguard, a motorist, Mustapha Bello, said: “The last fuel in my car was bought at N680 per litre some weeks back only for me to go back to buy another fuel at N850 per litre today (yesterday.’’

Fuel scarcity persists in Kaduna

In the Kaduna metropolis, fuel scarcity persisted as most of the filling stations remained closed, claiming a shortage of the commodity.

In Kaduna North Local Government Area, there was a very long queue of motorists at the only filling station dispensing fuel along Ali Akilu Road, where customers alleged that petrol was being sold at N1,200 per litre.

“It was N900 on Friday, it was jerked to N1,200 today (yesterday) due to the persistent scarcity,” a motorist said.

He said a lot of people had gone to buy at the black market because they could not endure waiting for hours in the queue.
According to him, at the black market, they bought four litres for between N6,000 and N6,500 yesterday.

Black market price hits N2,000 per litre in Sokoto

Checks by Vanguard, weekend, showed that the price of petrol has risen to N2,000 per litre in the black market as many filling stations remained shut.

It was gathered that the prolonged closure of filling stations has compelled motorists and other users of the product to consider the black market as the next option, even as they called for urgent monitoring by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, which provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework to reduce hoarding of the product.

Commuters stranded at motor parks in Osun

In Osun State, while some filling stations were open for business, yesterday, many of them that did not have petrol were closed, thus encouraging many motorists to patronise black market operators at higher costs of between N900 and N1,200 per litre.

They also passed the burden to commuters, most of whom were stranded at motor parks because transporters increased fares by more than 100 per cent.

Fuel scarcity hurting businesses – Transport operators

In an interview with Vanguard, yesterday, Nonso Ubajaka, President, Associate of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria, said the scarcity is adversely affecting their members and every motorist in the country.

According to him, drivers now spend between three and four hours queuing for fuel, which affects their estimated arrival time to their destinations.

Continuing, the ALBON boss said this was affecting their business, the people, and the economy. He tasked the government to quickly address the problem as many filling stations have no fuel to dispense.

On the possibility of fare increase resulting from scarcity, Ubajaka said: “You can’t be talking about fare increase when there are no passengers.

“We are even considering fare reduction to encourage patronage, which has dropped to about 45 per cent.”
He lamented that people are no longer travelling, adding that this is affecting their business.

“It might surprise you that a 15-passenger minibus could hardly get five passengers on a day, and this affects our profit margin,” he said.