09 March 2014, Abuja – There are strong indications that the nationwide scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol will ease within the next one week as Oil Marketing & Trading (OM&T) companies and other private marketers import fuel cargoes to argument supply from the Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
It was however gathered that though the fuel supply situation is improving, unscrupulous marketers, who are benefitting from the crisis, have continued to thwart efforts to ensure stability of supply.
With this situation, it was learnt, the ex-depot price of PMS has remained far above official price, despite the improvement recorded in supply in recent days.
THISDAY gathered that though the official ex-depot price of PMS is N87.66, most of the depots sell between N95 and N101 per litre in Lagos. This high price at the depots, investigation reveals, has made it impossible for marketers to sell at the official pump price of N97 at filling stations.
Some of the marketers, who spoke to THISDAY at the weekend, confirmed that virtually all the petrol stations that sell at N97 have adjusted their pumps to short-change customers.
“Nobody can buy at N95 or N101 at the depots and sell at N97 at the pumps because we pay for transport, union fees and other charges. We also face extortion by government and security officials on the highways. So, most people have adjusted their pumps to be able to sell above N97,” said one of the marketers on condition of anonymity.
Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Obafemi Olawore, who had earlier told THISDAY that the supply situation would improve by this weekend, added that four more cargoes would come in next week to ease the scarcity.
The Western Zonal Chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo also confirmed yesterday that the fuel supply situation has improved. “Supply is now better than it was before,” he told THISDAY yesterday.
According to the Nigerian Ports Authority’s daily publication, “Shipping Position,” released shortly before the weekend, three vessels laden with petroleum products had arrived at the Lagos ports.
The NPA said two of the ships were laden with PMS, while the third one was a cargo of kerosene. The agency also said 66 other ships, carrying various items, would sail into the Lagos ports between March 5 and March 27, with four of the ships arriving with petroleum products, while 22 other ships would come in with other goods.
– Ejiofor Alike, This Day