Despite assurances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) that Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), more commonly known as petrol is available, LEADERSHIP findings showed that current situation is leading to panic buying with queues building up in some parts of the country
The NNPC has raised serious concern following lengthening queues at petrol stations especially in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and parts of the northern states
Group general manager, Group Public Affairs Division, of the Corporation, Garba Deen Muhammad, in a statement on Monday confirmed that NNPC has over 1.7 billion litres of petrol in stock and more product is expected to arrive into the country daily over the coming weeks and months.
“It is therefore unnecessary to entertain any fear of scarcity of petrol throughout the festive season and beyond.
The NNPC is also not aware of any plan by the government to cause an increase in the pump price of petroleum. The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has made that declaration last week” said Muhammad.
In view of these assurances, the NNPC advised motorists and other consumers of petrol to maintain their regular pattern of the purchase of petrol without getting into a panic situation that may send the wrong signals around the country.
The NNPC said it is also engaging all stakeholders to ensure smooth supply and distribution of products to every part of the country during the festive season and beyond.
But a competent industry source who confided in our correspondent, warned that the situation may likely go out of hand.
Our source said, “Product availability is not the problem; the issue is the United States dollar charges on port dues of fuel vessels by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) which they insist on collecting despite the presidential directive to stop.
Effort to get the response of the acting general manager, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ibrahim Nasiru proved abortive as calls placed to his phones were not answered and text messages not responded to. He further explained that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) offered to provide foreign exchange for their operational requirements but they didn’t accept because the transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi refused to accept.
“These costs are no longer bearable to marketers hence the situation at hand. The NNPC is now charging US dollars on their vessels for which they were hitherto charging naira.
“These dollars are not available from CBN hence they’re sourced from the parallel market and the cost will be borne by someone” our source said.
In Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, independent marketers are shutting down their stations creating artificial scarcity.
When LEADERSHIP went round the state capital, over 80 per cent of the stations belonging to Independent marketers were seen shut down.
“Most of the independent marketers have enough products but refuse to sell to customers,” LEADERSHIP learnt.
“Most of them have the fuel but refuse to sell just for their selfish interest, if government can take action to visit the stations, they can see things for themselves.”
A long stretch of motorcycles and cars were seen at filling stations in most of the local government area which comprises Potiskum, Gashua, Gulani, Fune, Nguru, Gaidam and Damaturu, the state capital waiting for their turn to purchase the product.
Our correspondent who monitored the situation observed that the fuel queues have returned in Damaturu metropolis and other local government areas of the state.
At black markets’ corner, a four-litre gallon of PMS was selling for N800.