According to oil marketers on Tuesday, the disparity in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, will widen further due to the incomplete delivery of products to many filling stations.
Dealers under the auspices of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria said there had been a lopsided pattern in the distribution of PMS recently, warning that this would cause scarcity and worsen the price disparity in retail outlets.
They informed our correspondent that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, through its NNPC Retail subsidiary, had not delivered the exact number of trucks of fuel intended for independent marketers.
“Here in Port Harcourt, for example, we have Oando and NNPC Retail, and they have products in some private depots. Master Energy and Liquid Bulk also have products, but there is no volume for independent marketers,” IPMAN’s National Public Relations Officer, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, stated.
“Independent marketers have no volume in all of these depots, and we have over 3,400 tickets lying and waiting at the NNPC Retail account,” he added. This new system is forcing independent marketers to beg NNPC Retail for petroleum products.
“It is until NNPC Retail has finished loading products to its own outlets before it would now attend to independent marketers. It has relegated independent marketers to the third tier of bulk distribution of petroleum products, which is completely incorrect.”
Independent marketers operate approximately 80% of filling stations nationwide, including those in villages and other remote areas, making them the largest downstream distributors of gasoline.
Ukadike explained that the recent lopsidedness in product distribution by NNPC Retail “is the problem that leads to price disparity,” adding that “we are now forced to go and buy products from retail outlets and some of these tank farm owners at a very exorbitant price.”
Debo Ahmed, National President of IPMAN, also commented on the situation at private depots (coastal depots).
He stated that downstream oil sector operators “must do something now to restore the depleted faith of independent marketers, particularly at the Port Harcourt coastal depots.”
According to Ahmed’s remarks, which were forwarded to our correspondent by the association’s PRO, “in the second week of February this year, a vessel discharged approximately 28 million litres (622 trucks) of PMS in TSL depot” (Oando).
“A 162-trucks program was released for IPMAN, totaling approximately 7.3 million litres. We struggled to load less than 100 trucks out of the 162-truck program that was assigned to us. There are approximately 62 tickets still available for the next vessel.
“In the last week of February, another vessel discharged 13 million litres (288 trucks) of PMS at Liquid Bulk. IPMAN was only given a 56-truck program. We were all looking forward to the next episode when we learned that the product was completed last week.”
He also stated that a vessel carrying 13 million litres (288 trucks) arrived at Master Energy last week.
“As of now, IPMAN has not received any program for that product. At TSL, another vessel will discharge. “IPMAN, what is our fate?” The president of the association stated.
“This is the right time to throw away the crutches of comfort and restore the hope and expectations of all independent marketers,” he added. It is critical that we start our protest as soon as possible.
“This is critical so that Nigerians understand what is going on with us and the new retail. The lopsided distribution pattern will continue to cause scarcity and price disparity in retail outlets.”
When contacted for comment on the matter, NNPCL’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Garba-Deen Muhammad, requested that the inquiry be sent to him via WhatsApp. This was done, but he had yet to respond at the time of filing this report.