Polls controversy: Fuel hits N300/litre as marketers halt loading
Oil marketers, on Tuesday, said many depots had stopped loading Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, due to the apprehension caused by the collation of results of the general elections across the country.
It was also gathered that while filling stations operated by major marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited were selling petrol between N194 and N200/litre, other outlets operated by independent marketers dispensed the product between N250 and N340/litre.
This was despite the insistence of the Federal Government that there was no approval for an increase in the pump price of petrol, coupled with the government’s demand that PMS should not be dispensed above the approved rate.
“Government will not approve any increase of PMS (price) secretly without due consultations with the relevant stakeholders.
“The President has not directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority or any agency for that matter to increase the price of fuel. This is not the time for any increase in pump price of PMS,” the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had stated recently.
NNPCL retail stations are believed to be selling PMS at the approved price. Many of them sell the commodity at N194 or N195/litre, but independent marketers dispense the product far higher than this rate.
This, dealers said, was due to the fact that many depots had stopped loading PMS because of the apprehension being caused by the general elections and the collation of results from the process by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“As it is now, the depots are not loading and there no receptions. If you watch, so many stations across the country are not open for service. This is due to apprehension caused by the elections,” the Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, stated.
He added, “People want to wait for the announcement of these results, because of the fear of possible crisis that might affect their stations or trucks. However, as it is now, since the depots are not loading as expected, people will want to take advantage of the situation to profiteer.”
Shuaibu explained that the trucks of major marketers had not been moving products out of Lagos to other locations across the country as they used to, prior to the elections.
“Trucks that move PMS, belonging to major marketers, are not coming into Abuja and many other locations as expected. I enquired from them and they said it is because of the elections, and that they are afraid. So they want to see the outcome of the elections,” the IPMAN official stated.
On his part, the President, Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said marketers were currently finding it tough to get products to dispense, which was why private depots were selling above the approved price stipulated by the government.
“The question now is, are there even products? Are marketers seeing the products to buy, before talking about dispensing it to consumers?” he stated.
When told that the NNPCL recently announced that it had enough products to keep the country wet till March 2023, Gillis-Harry replied, “Has NNPCL ever told you that it doesn’t have enough products?”
On the high cost of petrol by independent filling stations, he said, “What we have done as PETROAN is that you must submit the document with which you used to buy the product, so that we’ll know what band rate that you are supposed to sell