01 January 2014, Lagos – There is looming crisis in the supply and distribution of premium motor spirit (PMS) as marketers are experiencing shortfalls occasioned by increased demand during the Yuletide, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.
It was gathered that due to dwindling supply, apparently resulting from inadequate importation, very few depot owners had products at the weekend.
This development, it was learnt, has also resulted in backlog as dealers, who paid for products, have to wait for three or four days before lifting the products from the depots, against the normal waiting period of less than 48 hours.
The tightening supply has also led to increase in ex-depot price from N88.50 to between N91 and N91.50 per litre.
The Western Zonal Chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) workers, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo told THISDAY at the weekend that only the policy makers can make categorical statement on why there is shortfall in fuel supply.
“We have shortfall in supply. Only few filling stations have fuel and that is why some filling stations are selling with only one pump. But our members (tanker drivers) are trying their best to distribute the few products we have. We don’t have public holidays but only the policy makers can make categorical statements on the cause of the shortfall,” he said.
But the acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said the volume of products in NNPC stock had not dropped to warrant any shortfall in the market.
He said the NNPC had maintained the same stock level since the last two years, resulting in the availability of products.
“There has been no drop in our stock. For the past two years, we have not experienced scarcity during Christmas and New Year and this year is not going to be different. If the people involved in the distribution of products have decided to go on holidays, there is a limit to what the NNPC can do to control the market. We believe the people are just trying to exploit the situation,” he said.
Ibrahim acknowledged that motorists also wanted to engage in panic buying in Abuja to create tension during the Christmas. He gave assurance that there was no need for panic buying as the NNPC has enough products in its stock.
Some of the marketers, who spoke to THISDAY in Lagos, blamed the shortfall on inadequate importation by the NNPC and the private importers.
“Supply from the NNPC and the private importers have dropped. If you pay today, you wait for up to three or four days before you lift the products unlike before when you lift products the following day,” said one of the marketers.
– This Day