Independent Marketers give reasons for fuel scarcity

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (lPMAN) has attributed the current fuel scarcity to the unavailability of petroleum products and difficulty in accessing foreign exchange by marketers.

Mr Mike Osatuyi, the Operations Controller of lPMAN, made the revelation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday.

Osatuyi said it had become necessary to inform the general public that the lingering scarcity of petrol was due to the unavailability of the product.

He alleged that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd., had stopped importing enough petrol to meet demand in the country.

Osatuyi was emphatic that marketers could no longer sell at the regulated price because the unsteady supply of petrol had resulted in higher prices at the depots.

“We are experiencing scarcity because the product is not available.

“The price of a litre of petrol at private depots is currently between N205 and N210 as against N162.50.

“The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd., is the sole importer of refined petroleum products, which are not readily available to marketers,” he said.

Osatuyi explained that his members bought petrol at over N200 per litre from private depots, making it impossible for them to sell at a regulated pump price.

“Besides, such a trend is unsustainable given the fact that private depots also sell the product at an unofficial rate different from that of NNPCL.

“When we add the cost of transportation and levies, it will run into N217 per litre. At what prices do you want marketers to sell, knowing full well that we are in business to make profit?

“My members are groaning over the increase in the cost of petrol from the depot and they suffer a lot to get it.

“If fuel is there why would we not sell? But there is no fuel. Our members are selling petrol between N230 and N240 per litre at filling stations,” he added.

Osatuyi said the government was finding it difficult to continue subsidising the price of petrol and advised that the downstream of the petroleum sector be fully deregulated as a permanent solution to the problem.

He urged the government to allow the private sector to import petrol as is the case with aviation fuel, diesel and kerosene.

He said total deregulation of the downstream sector was necessary.

Collaborating Osatuyi’s views, a marketer, who preferred not to be mentioned, told NAN that NNPCL was having challenges importing refined products due to liquidity constraints.

According to the marketer, all marketers; IPMAN, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) are struggling to get products from NNPCL, the sole supplier.

The marketers said the scarcity of foreign exchange also posed a serious challenge, and that the Direct Purchase and Direct Supply (DPDS) option had crashed.

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