PPMC Blames Fuel Queues On Pipeline Vandalism
The Executive Director, Supply and Distribution of the PPMC, Justin Ezeala, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, explained that most of the pipelines constructed to aid the supply of petroleum products have been under severe attack of vandals in the past few years.
He said Nigeria has the best network of pipeline that runs through the entire length and breadth of the country. “This was designed to ensure effective distribution of products. But now, most of the pipelines are under severe attacks. Before we finish repairing one, another attack is recorded and this has made distribution very difficult. We now distribute with trucks especially to the northern part of the country.”
Ezeala further hinted that the PPMC has adopted moving fuel in vessels to Port Harcourt as well as Warri from Lagos in order to move products closer to the end-users.
He added that the growing queues are however due to panic buying as well as hoarding by the marketers. “The queues we have seen in the last days are as a result of panic buying by Nigerians and some marketers are taking advantage of that by hoarding products. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) are monitoring the situation and sanctioning erring marketers who commit infractions against the law,” he said.
Ezeala also debunked any possibility of price reduction of petroleum products saying, “the argument does not seem plausible for me. I would think that marketers would be in a hurry to sell the product they have if there is going to be price decrease. Selling outlets cannot hoard product when loss is confronting them. I want to appeal to all Nigerians to disregard this kind of rumour. If there is going to be price adjustment, Nigerians will hear it from government.”
A breakdown of products in stock show that PPMC depots have 66,811,000 liters, there is another 117,483,000 in PPMC throughput depots and Marine stock has 427,970,786.50. Major marketers have 44,111,540 which totals 656,376,326.50. There are also plans by the PPMC to import 380,990,488.16 before the end of the month while other marketers are also billed to import 376,000,000 to come to 756,990,488.16.
Cumulatively, about 1,413,366,814.66 litres of petrol are in stock.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of NNPC Retails, Ladipo Fagbole, said all the 513 NNPC mega retail stations across the country would begin 24-hour service until the fuel queues are eradicated.
On the other hand, following the reappearance of long queues in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has sealed over 10 filling stations in the state for various offences.
The stations were sealed during the agency’s surveillance activities across the state for product hoarding, denying DPR officials access to their facilities, and thereby prohibiting them from carrying out their functions.
Also closed were stations that sold in violation of the agency’s seals. Other stations affected were sealed for under-dispensing, outrightly abandoning filling stations on sighting DPR Officials, among other reasons. The Head Public Affairs, DPR Eastern Zone, Mrs. Carol Bello said, despite the efforts, there are still several complaints from the public on the activities of unscrupulous operators in the value chain.
Meanwhile, motorists in Port Harcourt spent several hours on the queues before buying petrol due to scarcity of the product allegedly caused by marketers who hoard petrol over non-payment of subsidy funds.
The Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN in Rivers State, Sunny Nkpe who noted that the union is yet to feel the impact of the recent payment of N413 billion outstanding subsidy money to depot owners by the federal government, however, stated that IPMAN has commenced the implementation of an intervention measure to cushion the impact of the current scarcity of petroleum products in the state.