Fuel scarcity to linger much longer nationwide

Posted by News Express | 3 January 2018 | 1,280 times

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•Fuel queue

There are indications that the persistent fuel scarcity in the country may take a long time to end as a meeting involving the Federal Government, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Department of Petroleum Resources, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, ended with no clear road-map.

But the major players in the oil industry yesterday, attributed the fuel scarcity in different parts of the country to the increase in crude oil price at the international market and the removal of subsidy. This came as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said that no single marketer has been identified as being behind the fuel scarcity that has brought untold hardship to Nigerians during the Yuletide.

A source at the meeting hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari had ruled out any fuel price increment and payment of subsidy to marketers. The sources added that local refining dominated yesterday meeting, while marketers it was learned asked for the payment of the outstanding N800 billion debt, owed them by the Federal Government. Briefing State House correspondents after a meeting between the oil stakeholders and government representatives on the instance of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, Chairman of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMA, Dapo Abiodun explained that marketers were finding it difficult to import the petroleum products because of the increase in the price of crude.

He said: “Today’s meeting was called at the instance of the Chief of Staff to the President and it was to find out exactly what happened, where we had the problems we had in December with the supply of petrol and how Nigerians were made to go through the pains and suffering.

“He wanted to know the truth and to ensure that going forward, this problem will be solved once and for all. And that is why you saw that we sat in here from 2pm and the meeting just finished after three and half hours.

“A lot of issues were raised and a committee was constituted that will be meeting tomorrow (today) under the chairmanship of the Minister of State, Petroleum to further ensure that these problems do not reoccur.

“From our point of view as marketers, we made our submission known to government and we emphasized the fact that this was not a marketer-related problem. There was no hoarding on the part of any marketer.

“Marketers are your brothers, they are Nigerian citizens, they are businessmen, no marketer makes money from hoarding petroleum products, our business is to take petrol and sell.

“We explained that the problem that you saw is not willful on the part of anyone either NNPC or marketers. The situation from our point of view is that from January to December, the price of crude remained relatively stable. Following the hurricane Katrina in the month of September, October, crude prices went up and marketers lost the ability to import and sell at N145 per litre.

“In the past, marketers bring in about 60% while NNPC brings about 35 to 40 per cent. But by the month of October, marketers completely stopped importing because there was no more subsidy, so we can’t sell for profit and we have to stop importing. The burden of importing 100% now fell on NNPC.

“You can imagine a situation where NNPC was importing in part and marketers were importing in part and then suddenly NNPC begins to import 100%.

“NNPC is suddenly finding itself importing what they probably didn’t expect in terms of volume and the fact that Nigerians are consuming more volume that they will normally consume in earlier months.

“Coupled with the fact that the countries that are surrounding us as a nation are all selling fuel at more than $1 per litre. $1 today is about N360. If you go to Cotonou, Ghana, Niger so it’s not unlikely that some of our petrol is finding itself across the body to these countries.

“All these are issues we believe amounted to what we saw in December but thankfully NNPC rose to the occasion, they stepped up import, stepped up supplies. That situation has since normalised.

“Today’s meeting is to ensure that this does not happen again and this we are going to continue tomorrow in the committee that was set up under the chairmanship of the Minister of State for Petroleum to ensure that we find a long-lasting and enduring solution to this problem so that Nigerians will not have to go through this borrowing situation again.”

•Excerpted from a Vanguard report.

Source: News Express

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