The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has asked Nigerians to prepare for the worst fuel crisis unless the federal government prevail on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA) to pay its members their outstanding bridging claims amounting to over N500 billion.
The scarcity of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, worsened in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) yesterday.
Black market dealers had a rosy day as they sold a litre for N450 and 10 litres for N4,500.
While the retail outlets opposite the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited had no product, the black marketers sold theirs at a cutthroat prices right in front of security agents.
IPMAN has said the ongoing fuel scarcity in some parts of the country is a “tip of the iceberg”.
The NNPC Ltd, however, said it has 2.5billion litres of petrol in stock that could last 45 days.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Malam Garba Deen Muhammad, attributed the situation to “low loadouts at depots which usually happen during long public holidays, in this case, the Sallah celebrations”.
“Another contributing factor to the sudden appearances of queues is the increased fuel purchases which are also usual with returning residents of the FCT from the public holidays,” he stated in a statement.
According to him, NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) in conjunction with their marketing partners have taken necessary measures to ramp up loadouts from all depots.
He said: “We assure all residents of the FCT, and indeed all Nigerians, that we have ample local supplies and national stock in excess of 2.5 billion litres, with a sufficiency of more than 43 days.
“The NNPC Ltd hereby advises motorists not to engage in panic buying as supplies are adequate as will become increasingly evident in the coming days.”
NMDPRA’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Apollo Kimchi, who spoke with The Nation on phone, debunked the allegation of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) that the scarcity was a result of N100billion owed the marketers by the Federal Government.
Prepare for the worst, IPMAN tells Nigerians
IPMAN had asked Nigerians to prepare for the worst unless the Federal Government prevailed on the NMDPRA to pay its members their outstanding bridging claims amounting to over N500 billion.
Its Kano State chapter chairman, Bashir Danmalam, at a briefing yesterday, insisted that NMDPRA must pay the claims.
He said the failure of the NMDPRA to pay the bridging claims, otherwise known as transportation claims, had forced many of their members out of business as they could not transport the commodity due to the high cost of diesel.
“Nonpayment of the claims by the agency (NMDPRA) for over eight months has crippled the business of many of our members. They cannot transport the commodity even though it is available.
“NMDPRA is responsible for the payment of bridging claims otherwise known as transportation claims.
“Because of the failure of the NMDPRA to pay the outstanding claims for about nine months, many marketers cannot transport the product because their funds are not being paid.
“Despite the high price of diesel, a few are managing to supply the petroleum products nationwide.
“The resurfacing of fuel queues in Abuja is just a tip of the iceberg with regards to the petroleum scarcity.
“Out of 100 per cent, only five per cent of the marketers can supply the petroleum products because of the failure of NMDPRA to pay them,” Danmalam said.
But, Kimchi said the government had been paying the marketers for bridging every month.
“We paid. I don’t have those details now. They (Federal Government) normally pay every month. I don’t have the record now. The issue of fuel scarcity is not based on that,” he said.
According to him, the scarcity was because most of the truck drivers, who are Muslims, did not lift the product during the Salah break.
He noted that as they commenced loading the product yesterday, normalcy would soon return.
“There was a holiday. There was a drop in the truck out during the holiday and now it has started going up which means that in a few days, it will normalise.
“Today our staff went on inspection. Most of these truck owners are Muslims and they went for Salah. Today there is a normal truck out. It will normalise.”