03 March 2015, Lagos – The current scarcity of petrol in most parts of the country is expected to continue till next week, marketers told one of our correspondents on Monday.
While the pump price of the product had risen to N120 per litre in most filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory, the few stations that had petrol in Lagos on Monday maintained the N87 per litre official price except in some remote locations where the attendants charged N100.
In order to eliminate the scarcity, the Federal Government has approved the payment of the foreign exchange differential to the marketers of the product.
Marketers said the supply promised by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, only got to them over the weekend and that it might take a week for the product to go round and cushioned the effect of the shortage being witnessed currently.
Product loading began on a slow note on Monday morning at depots in Apapa, Lagos but picked up later in the day, with one of our correspondents gathering that three vessels were offloading the product at the Apapa Port.
One of the marketers said, “Most of the vessels came in late on the weekend; but what I can tell you now is that three vessels are offloading as we speak.
“Cushioning the effect of the product shortage, which has resulted in queues in filling stations across the country, will be very gradual. It may not happen as quickly as Nigerians want it because for the major marketers, they have to receive the product in turns.”
The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, said the NNPC had already supplied 58 million litres of petrol to Lagos, with the major marketers getting 40 million litres, while the balance is for Nipco and Aiteo.
“The situation will ease up definitely; but what we want to tell Nigerians is that they should desist from panic buying of petrol,” he said.
Meanwhile Lagos and Ogun states experienced longer queues of desperate motorists at filling stations, as only few stations opened for business on Monday.
The queues worsened the traffic situation in most parts of the states, with large number of commuters waiting for buses at various bus-stops.
Obafemi said the lingering scarcity was caused by the inability of marketers to import petrol into the country since February due to the non-payment of arrears of subsidy claims amidst rising costs.
He said the Federal Government had yet to fulfil its promise to pay the first batch of marketers, adding that the marketers were not importing the product again because they had not money, and the banks were not ready to give additional loans when the ones earlier collected had not been repaid.
Petrol stations in Abuja sold the product at N120 per litre on Monday as the scarcity of the product worsened in the city, leaving hundreds of motorists stranded for hours on long queues.
But the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Joseph Dawha, described the rush for fuel by motorists as panic buying, adding that the Federal Government had put all that was necessary in place to ensure seamless supply of petrol
The GMD, alongside the heads of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency and the Department of Petroleum Resources, said although there was enough stock to keep the country wet till April, the major challenge of non-payment of subsidy claims to the marketers and the differentials in foreign exchange rates had been addressed.