03 March 2014, Lagos – Some independent marketers of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, are selling the products above the official pump price and ex-depot price as queues in filling stations across the country worsen, THISDAY has gathered.
However, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) is certain that normalcy will return to oil distribution by the time the first set of fuel cargoes land in the country next weekend.
The worsening scarcity of petrol, it was learnt, followed the initial delay of the release of fuel import allocation to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Oil Marketing and Trading (OM & T) companies by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
The development has led to a hike in the ex-depot price to between N93 per litre and N94.50 in most depots, fueling concerns that some marketers, who are still selling at official price of N97 at filling stations, may have adjusted their pumps, thereby short-changing motorists.
THISDAY gathered that many independent marketers, especially those at the outskirts of the major cities sell at between N110 and N130 per litre at filling stations.
Investigations also revealed that some independent marketers within the metropolis hoard the products and sell only at night above the official pump price.
Speaking on the worsening supply situation, the Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Thomas Olawore, told THISDAY yesterday that the current crisis was caused by the initial delay in the release of the import allocations to marketers.
He predicted that the scarcity would worsen in days ahead until the marketers, who were given allocations start bringing their cargoes into the country by next weekend.
“The current scarcity will be worse in few days to come because it takes between two to three weeks to bring cargoes into the country. That was why we told them (PPPRA) to give us allocation on time. On our part, we will utilise whatever products the NNPC is giving us and distribute them efficiently. We are also trying to land our first cargo by next weekend,” he said.
He exonerated the major marketers from the accusation of hoarding products and selling above official price, saying the major marketers do not engage in profiteering and other forms of malpractices.
“We do not encourage hoarding but when there is serious shortage of supply, there are certain things you cannot control. It is not right for any marketer to buy products from the NNPC at normal price and sell above official price,” he added. The PPPRA had earlier released the first quarter 2014 fuel import allocations to the NNNPC and the private marketers, raising hopes that the weeks of scarcity have ended.
However, contrary to the impression created by the marketers that their allocations for the fourth quarter 2013 expired on December 31, 2013, the allocations actually covered January 2014.
Though the approval of the import allocation is shrouded in secrecy as the PPPRA do not publicly release the list of successful marketers, a source at the agency, who sighted the document, told THISDAY that over 30 private marketers were given allocations.
He listed some of the private marketers to include Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, MRS Oil and Gas, Heyden Petroleum, Techno Oil Limited, NIPCO Plc, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Forte Oil Plc, Conoil Plc, Oando Plc, Folawiyo Oil and Gas, and Total Nigeria Plc.
– This Day