Fresh fuel scarcity brews as depots raise petrol price to N720/L

Fresh fuel scarcity brews as depots raise petrol price to N720/L
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Fuel scarcity is gradually surfacing in Lagos and other parts of the country as private depot owners hiked the ex-depot price of petrol from N630 to N720 per litre.

This came as fuel scarcity deepened in Abuja and the adjoining states on Sunday with some filling stations dispensing PMS as high as N900/litre.

A number of filling stations in Lagos, Ogun and some states have run out of stock as they refused to buy high-priced fuel from the private depots.

Speaking with reporters on Sunday, the National Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Hammed Fashola, said many filling stations did not open for business because they had no fuel in their tanks.

He said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, which is the sole importer of petrol at the moment, should explain to Nigerians what was happening with the product.

“Those that shut their stations do not have fuel to sell. When you don’t have fuel, you cannot open your station. That is the problem. You know the NNPC is the sole importer of this product. I think it is in the best position to tell us what is actually going on.

“Currently, independent marketers cannot buy what the private depots are selling. They are selling fuel between N715 and N720 per litre. How much will marketers sell the product? Look at the cost of bringing it to their depots; with transportation and other depot expenses, it will be too costly for them. That is why the stations are shut down. Some marketers refuse to go and buy because they know the masses cannot afford high-priced petrol in this economy. That is the situation for now,” the IPMAN leader stated.

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The third parties, who are private depot owners, used to sell PMS to independent marketers at the rate of N630-650/litre before now, while the NNPC sells petrol to major marketers at a price below or around N600.

On many occasions, leaders of IPMAN have appealed to the NNPC to supply them with petrol directly like they do to major marketers, but the NNPC has yet to yield to that call.

Fashola appealed to Nigerians to avoid panic buying, saying they should buy what they need so that the fuel in circulation could go round.

It was gathered that the major marketers sold petrol below N650 while the independent marketers sold between N750/litre and N800 /litre.

Multiple officials confirmed to newsmen that officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited stormed the various depots in Apapa on Friday, mandating depot owners to prioritise fuel supply to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where the fuel queues were initially noticed on Friday.

Investigations also revealed that some marketers have refused to supply petrol to independent marketers, who own the larger percentage of the filling stations in Nigeria. This, it was gathered, was because the depots/marketers were getting limited supplies from the NNPC.

“Currently, we focus on our filling stations. We get less than 50 per cent of what we usually get from the NNPC now. So, we make sure we feed our stations first before we consider selling to independent marketers. That is why most of them are out of stock. You know they don’t have access to the NNPC and the little we get is not even enough for our stations,” one of the depot operators told newsmen on condition of anonymity because was not authorised to speak on the matter.

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The operator mentioned that the few depots selling to IPMAN members sell at higher prices as demand overshoots supply.

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