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Long queues at filling stations as fuel scarcity returns

Entrances to many filling stations in Lagos and other parts of the country remained shut to motorists yesterday following a sharp drop in the supply of petrol to the market.

As at yesterday morning, many filling stations were not dispensing Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), to motorists as they were shut.

The Guardian gathered that the Major Oil Marketers (MOMAN) and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPMA) have ran out of stock at their various depots.

Findings by The Guardian revealed that oil marketers were no longer interested in importing the product because of unpaid subsidy arrears, the rising exchange rate of the dollar to the Naira and rising interests on loans from banks.

Many filling stations in Lagos on Monday were selling petrol at N120 per litre as against the pump price of N87 per litre.

Some of the filling stations, like Sabola and Petroleum Manager around Cele and Okota were selling PMS at between N100 and N120per litres, while the attendants at stations that sell at N87 collect at least N100 or N200 from motorists before they could dispense the product.

Specifically, Mobil, Conoil, Total, Oando that were selling at the approved pump price, had long queues spread to the major roads around the filling station resulting to intense traffic.

NNPC mega station at Afred Rewane Street, Victoria Island, had long queue, which made some consumers to arrive at the filling station as early as 4 am just to get product.

A consumer at NNPC mega station said: “I have been here since 4 am this morning and I am not sure I will be able to get product today.”

Some consumers, which spoke with The Guardian yesterday, lamented the scarcity, saying they went through hell trying to get fuel for their cars or generators.

The marketers attributed the present scarcity to the inability of the Federal Government to meet its subsidy obligation of over N350 billion.

They doubted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC’s) ability to sustain importation to bridge the current supply gap.

The Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Olufemi Olawore, said that NNPC would not be able to bridge the current supply gap as the private importers controls over 60 per cent of the PMS market.

Olawore stated: “ NNPC lack the capacity to bridge the present supply gap in the country because we control over 60 per cent of the fuel retail market while NNPC only controls 40 per cent. If NNPC claimed that it can meet the PMS needs of consumers, it should be bold enough to show Nigerian’s the location of its products”.

Olawore said that consumers should be ready for hard times. “Right now, it is getting to a halt because we are bleeding; our suppliers are on us to pay for products supplied.
“As at April 22, what we have in our depots at Apapa will only last for three and half days, which shows that our members are finding it hard to bring in products.
“Our banks here are not even helping the situation because it has not been easy to access loan from them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, (PPPRA), has assured Nigerians of steady and adequate supply of petroleum products across the country.

The Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Farouk Ahmed disclosed that the PPPRA national petroleum products stocks data indicates that the country currently has 46-day national products sufficiency.

This he said comprises both land-based stock of over 28-day sufficiency and marine stock of about 18-day sufficiency.

He stated that daily PMS discharges by vessels are ongoing at jetties and depots nationwide.

Ahmed explained that currently, about 13 vessels are discharging petrol at various depots and jetties in Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Okrika and Oghara, with another 16 more vessels at offshore Lagos waiting to discharge.

The PPPRA Executive Secretary reassured that trucking of product have been ongoing at coastal depots following appeals made to the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), adding that security agencies have also assured NARTO of the safety and security of their trucks and drivers.

While appealing to Nigerians to be calm and not engage in panic buying, the PPPRA Executive Secretary warned that the Agency will not hesitate to sanction any Marketer or Depot Owner caught hoarding PMS.



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