Tayo Busayo, Abuja

 

DAILY COURIER – The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has called on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), to investigate the arbitrary increase in fuel prices by private depot owners.

 

The chairman, IPMAN, Western Zone, Alhaji Dele Tajudeen, made the call in an interview in Lagos, stating that the price hike by the private depot owners was responsible for the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the country.

 

Tajudeen, who disclosed that there had been an increase in depot price of petrol from N148.17 to N178 per litre, said none of the NNPC depots had the product and that private depot owners took advantage of this to hike their price.

 

“The only option for our members is to opt for private depots to keep our business moving. We are totally against the increase because it will affect our profit margins and the masses”, he said.

 

The IPMAN chairman said marketers should not be blamed for the increase in the pump price, adding that “selling at N170 per litre is not realistic”.

 

“Our members have no other option than to sell between N195 and N200 per litre within Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States, while we will sell between N200 and N210 in Kwara, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti states.

 

“Most of the tank farm owners have justified this increase because of different charges, among which are vessel charges paid in dollars.

 

“We are calling on the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), to investigate the arbitrary increase in fuel price by the private depot owners”, he said.

 

However, a top official of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA), who preferred to be anonymous, said the scarcity of fuel being experienced in parts of the country was as a result of a shortfall in product allocation from the NNPC.

 

The source said a large portion of product allocation was given to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) because it is believed that they have large retail outlets.

 

He said: “We have some many invoices before NNPC that have not been allocated.

 

“Ex-depot price has been between N162 and N163 per litre for marketers within Lagos and its environs, while between N164 and 165 for marketers outside Lagos like Calabar, Port Harcourt, Owerri and so on.

 

“Some foreign vessels that came into the country refused to discharge, due to financial challenges.

 

“The shortfall in product can best be explained by NNPC and its agencies.”

 

Meanwhile, as fuel queues return to filling stations across Nigeria, the NMDPRA has assured that it has enough PMS in stock, urging the public to avoid panic buying.

 

DAILY COURIER reports that queues are beginning to build in some filling stations in Lagos.

 

The Chief Executive Officer of the NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, who gave the assurance on Tuesday in Lagos, said he had checked with MOMAN and the NNPCL on the level of fuel stock and confirmed that they had sufficient stock.

 

He appealed to NNPC and NMDPRA to supply enough petrol across the country to ease scarcity.

 

“l spoke with the MOMAN’S Executive Secretary this morning and he told me they have sufficient stock.

 

“I have directed them to start evacuating the product immediately to filling stations.

 

“NNPC has also confirmed sufficiency and they have commenced evacuation.

 

“From now till tomorrow the situation will be back to normal. I don’t know what is happening but we are on top of the situation”, he said.

 

Ahmed assured that there was enough fuel and therefore, appealed to members of the public to avoid panic buying as all efforts were being made to resolve the shortage in some filling stations in Lagos and its environs.

 

The National Operations Controller of IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, attributed the scarcity to unsteady supply in the past few days.

 

Osatuyi, said because of the unsteady supply depots prices had risen from N165 to N177 and N178 per litre in Apapa and its environs.

 

“The marketers will only sell what they buy. If the price of petrol increases, we add our transportation cost and other charges to the selling price”, he said.