Petrol scarcity: Long queues remain despite FG’s assurances

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Fare hike: Travellers, commuters groan as fuel scarcity bites harderA week after the Federal Government assured that the ongoing petrol supply shortages will ease, most filling stations across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, remained shut yesterday with few outlets operated by major marketers opened to

Long queues were seen at stations operated by Conoil, TotalEnergies and NNPC Retail in the Central Area of the city with almost all the stations operated by independent marketers shut.

Outside the city centre however, some stations managed by Independent marketers were opened with most dispensing at N870 per litre compared to N680 per litre sold at stations operated by major marketers.

In Lagos, Vanguard gathered that petrol stations along Badagry road, Orile, Festac, Amuwo, Ajegunle had their gates shut for lack of the product. However, those which had the product sold between N700 and N1,000 per litre to customers.

NNPC Limited assured consumers last Friday that the bottlenecks that led to the petrol supply disruptions have been resolved.

Speaking on why filling stations operated by major oil marketers continue to dispense despite the disruptions, the CEO, Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria, MEMAN, Mr Clement Isong said collaborations amongst its members including product swaps have kept their stations wet.

Isong in a note to Vanguard explained that “The advantage we have is that we share logistics in Apapa, which is an excellent platform to work with. They call it the Apapa hub. All our members have depot facilities in Apapa and so logically, over time, we learned to work together for the efficiency of the Apapa hub.

“So, when we have scarcity like this because we know ourselves, we are an old association, I think we are the first, we share not just logistics but products. We do what we call product swaps. So, if I run dry in my depot, I can go and take from another MEMAN company depot and later when I have products I can give him back the product that I took from him.

“The advantage of this is that we all can focus on keeping our stations wet. We have the key stations in all the key cities in all urban areas in Nigeria. If we can keep our 3,000 stations wet, we think that with an efficient system of transportation, the queues will abate before the weekend”, he added.

MEMAN said by working almost 24 hours daily, about 700 trucks were sent out yesterday to stations across the country, assuring that the queues will ease in the coming days.

On the insinuation that the Federal Government is still paying subsidies on petrol which has led to the current scarcity, Mr. Isong said there was some form of government intervention that has made the pump price remain the same for time now.

“It is true that there is an intervention and that is not hidden. The President said in his speech that prices will stay more or less the same. By saying that he gave an instruction and those that are importing the product have kept the price the same. So all us that are buying products when we go to take it at the vessel, the price is the same. But because the price is deregulated, there is a cost for shipping it from the vessel into the depot. There is throughput cost, NPA cost and NIMASA cost which are in dollars.

“For the dollars, wherever you get them and however you get them influences your price and from the depot to your filling stations there is a cost. Again how you manage your transportation adds to your cost. That’s why prices from filling stations to filling stations are different”, he stated.

The Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Chief Chinedu Ukadike had told Vanguard that disruptions to the petrol supply chain would not ease until next week.

Chief Ukadike blamed the acute shortage in supply on importation bottlenecks and the slow pace of marketers’ licence renewal process by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA.

He disclosed that only 1,050 marketers out of 15,000 have had their licences renewed by the NMDPRA.

He said: “The situation is that there is no product. Once there is a lack of supply or inadequate supply, what you will see is scarcity and queues will emerge at filling stations. On the part of NNPCL, which is the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria, they have attributed the challenge to logistics and vessel problems.

“Once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because we depend on import. I also have it on good authority that most of the refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance. So sourcing petroleum products has become a bit difficult”.

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