• NNPCL boasts of 30 days’ sufficiency
Aside the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), the few independent retail outlets that sold the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) petrol in Abuja yesterday, adjusted their pump prices above the official N617 per litre cap.
The Nation observed that several filling stations shutdown while black-marketers, who sold in plastic containers were trickling into the major highways.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), which The Nation sought the reason from, attributed the hike to the non-availability of the product at the depots.
Speaking with our Abuja correspondent on phone, the association’s National Vice President, Mr. John Ocha, noted that the high cost of the Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) diesel was accountable for the scarcity.
According to him, “In Abuja, since yesterday (Tuesday) many filling stations shutdown, including A.Y. Shafa. But later in the evening, they started selling. It changed its pump to N625. I don’t know any other station that is still making sales.
“The scarcity is because many independent marketers are not selling. And even the tank farm owners, it is only Shafa that I know who is selling. I don’t know of any other one.
“The product is not much there and the cost of landing of the product is quite high because the cost of diesel is very high. A litre of diesel is above N1000.
“For you to move a truck of fuel, for instance, from Warri to Abuja, you will be talking about N300,000 or more.
“And I wonder how many people will do that expenses and still come and be selling about N600 or there about.”
Asked whether the government has not moved against those selling above the official pump price, he said the government has been silent about it perhaps for its inability to cushion the cost of diesel.
“I am sure that adjustment is to accommodate the cost of landing, which the government is silent about because they (government) cannot make provision for diesel. The government cannot cushion the difference.
“The diesel cost is high and therefore that makes the landing cost of the product to be very high, especially at the very far places.”
Ocha noted that aside Lagos and other coastal regions near the depots, it is impossible for marketers in remote states to vend petrol at the official pump price.
His words: “Areas like Lagos can afford to sell at the normal price because the proximity of the source of the product is close.
“They will not incur much cost in diesel. But those who are selling like those staying in Maiduguri, Katsina, Kano Abuja and the rest of them, you cannot tell them to sell within N600 or N610 because the landing cost of the product is terribly high because of the high cost of diesel. So government is not saying anything about that.”
Meanwhile, the NNPCL insisted that its PMS stock was sufficient to last for 30 days.
Responding to The Nation’s text message, which asked NNPCL to state its available litres, its Head of Corporate Communication, Iyabo Ojo, said there was no cause for alarm.
She, however, blamed the scarcity of the product on the roads which make haulage of the product hectic for marketers.
Ojo said: “We have about 30 days’ sufficiency; so supply isn’t an issue. Road conditions have however made trucking quite challenging for all marketers.”