29 January 2015, Abuja – Fuel marketers are demanding a refund from the Federal Government for the “enormous losses” they claimed to have recorded as a result of the reduction in the pump price of petrol by N10 per litre.
The demand for refund came as the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, announced that it had sanctioned 307 petrol stations in the Federal Capital Territory, Niger State and its environs, as well as licensed 589 retail outlets in the zone in 2014.
The Federal Government on January 18, 2015 announced a reduction in the pump price of petrol by N10 from N97 to N87 per litre.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said the reduction, which took immediate effect, was because of the recent drastic fall in the prices of crude oil in the international market.
Speaking at the annual oil and gas marketers’ meeting organised by the DPR in Abuja, the representatives of the fuel marketers stated that the announcement by the Federal Government came to them as a surprise, as they had no prior knowledge of the reduction in fuel price.
Both the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria stated that their members lost huge sums of money as a result of the reduction in price, stressing that most dealers had a lot of unsold stock at the time the announcement was made.
The Vice President, IPMAN, Mr. Matgandi Shettima, said the marketers had to comply with the directive despite the fact that they were never informed before it was taken.
“The price reduction came to many of us as a surprise. This is because we had lots of stock in our underground tanks before the announcement was made. We had to comply as responsible citizens, but the fact remains that we were taken unawares. I don’t know how they intend to pay for the huge losses and if the losses will be recovered, but we want it to be paid,” he said.
A representative of MOMAN at the meeting, Mr. Wasiu Alade, said it was tough for many of the marketers to comply with the new pump price.
He stated that the association had met with the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company and other related agencies to demand a refund for its members.
Alade said, “I will like to state here that although we complied, it was not easy for many of us. In fact, complying was a tough decision for many marketers but we had to because we are law-abiding. We are having talks with the PPPRA, PPMC and others on how to get a refund, but we have yet to get any good response from these agencies of the Federal Government.
“We, however, hope that something will be done about this soon.”
Responding to the demands of the marketers, the Chief Regulatory Officer, Planning, PPPRA, Mr. Michael Nwonu, said he would not comment on the issue as it was coming at a sensitive period when the country was preparing for general elections.
“I will urge you to always visit our website because we update it regularly in order to address some of your concerns. You can still visit our office for further clarification,” he said.
On the petrol stations that were sanctioned, the Zonal Controller, DPR Abuja, Mr. Mohammed Usman, said 326 outlets were variously punished in the region in 2013, in contrast to 307 in 2014.
“The reduction (in number of those sanctioned) was as a result of regular surveillance and compliance,” he added.
– The Punch