Petrol marketers on Thursday differed with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on the lingering scarcity of the product in major cities, especially Lagos and Abuja.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) attributed the acute scarcity to the unavailability of the product at the filling stations.
But the NNPCL, through its Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) agency, insisted it has enough in stock that will last for more than one month.
The scarcity, which began in Lagos earlier in the week, spread to neighbouring communities yesterday, with queues spreading into kilometres away from stations that had the product to dispense.
The scarcity resurfaced in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) despite the 2,050,272,534-litre product stock claim of the NNPCL.
The NMDPRA made the disclosure in a document titled: “Petroleum Products Stock and Days Sufficiency Data 24/11/2022.”
It said the stock would last for 33.17 days.
Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Ahmeed Ali, once queried the daily consumption claim of the NNPCL when he appeared before a National Assembly committee.
The NMDPRA document based its computation on the average consumption of 60 million litres per day.
According to the document, land-based stock (closing stock) was 446,059,559 litres.
It added that marine stock at berth plus offshore was 1,544,253,042 litres, and the total stock less dead stock was 1,990,212,637 litres.
The authority put the total stock (inclusive of dead stock) at 2,050,272,534 litres.
Neither the NMDPRA spokesman, Mr. Apollo Kimchi, nor the NNPCL Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Garba Deen Muhammad, could be reached for an explanation on the resurgence of petrol scarcity.
They did not respond to text messages sent to their telephone lines.
IPMAN, however, attributed the scarcity to the unavailability of the product.
“This is because the product is not available,” IPMAN National Vice President, Abubakar Maigandi, said last night.
He noted that most of the tank farms from which the marketers buy petrol were not selling to them.
Maigandi stressed that the NNPCL was not releasing products to independent marketers.
He said: “For almost two weeks now, all our trucks are there waiting for the product in Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri.”
Some filling stations owned by major marketers were seen selling petrol in Lagos yesterday. But the stations belonging to IPMAN members had no product to dispense to motorists.
Black marketers took advantage of the situation to hoard products and sell to desperate motorists at exorbitant prices.
The situation was chaotic at the stations owned by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) as litre sold for between N169 and N180.
A litre of petrol sold for above N200 at other stations belonging to IPMAN members.
The Nation learnt that the major marketers got supplies directly from NNPCL depots.
The NNPCL is the sole importer of refined petroleum products.
In a chat with Channels Television, IPMAN Deputy National President, Zarama Mustapha, explained that his members bought petrol at over N200 per litre from private depots.
This makes it impossible for independent marketers to sell at a pump price lower than what they buy.
“Besides, such a trend is unsustainable, given that private depots also get the product at the official rate from the NNPCL,” he said.
Mustapha lamented that private depots, which get petrol at the approved N148/litre price from the NNPCL, sold the same product to IPMAN members at N195 and N210 per.
He said: “It is more of the issue of private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at a price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority. You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 per litre and expect to sell it at N175.”
The IPMAN chief said marketers spent three days loading refined petrol as against the normal three hours required to lift.
He urged the NNPCL to prevail on depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price in the interest of the public.
Other oil marketers under the aegis of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) also gave insight into the costs they incur to make petrol available in the market.
DAPPMAN’s Chairman Mrs. Winifred Akpani explained that marketers paid through their noses to get the products and are also heavily yoked with huge charges which are denominated in foreign exchange (forex).
Mrs. Akpani stated that accessing foreign exchange at the official Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rate was a serious challenge for marketers and was responsible for the price differential in petrol distribution in the country.
She decried what she termed the “absence of a level-playing field” that guaranteed access to dollars for all marketers at official rates.
According to her, it will cost about N220 million at official government exchange rate of N440 to charter a vessel that would convey 20,000 metric tons of petrol within Nigeria for 10 days.
But for marketers who buy forex from the parallel market at N880 to a naira, the same 20, 000 metric tons of fuel cost them N440 million,” she explained.
She put the additional cost at N11 per litre for the transaction due to the forex official and parallel market differential.
Mrs. Akpani said: “In addition, the jetty berth is charged in dollars and comes to N2.2 million at the official forex rate and N4.4 million at the parallel market rate, while port dues, charged in dollars by the NPA and NIMASA, come to N71.51 million at official forex rate and N142.796 million for marketers who source forex from the parallel market.”
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