27 May 2015, Lagos – The nation may continue to grapple with the effect of the latest fuel crisis until next week as marketers of petroleum products have said the current supply challenge may not end this week.
The marketers also confirmed in separate interviews with one of our correspondents on Tuesday that loading of petrol had resumed across board with members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association driving the exercise.
But they told our correspondent that because of the May 29 public holiday, the petrol supply challenge was likely to prevail up until next week.
The fuel scarcity in Abuja continued on Tuesday despite the commencement of loading of the product at depots across the country.
Hundreds of motorists were seen in few petrol stations that sold the product as they spent quality man-hours in queues.
One of the marketers, who spoke to our correspondent in Lagos, confirmed that some of them had resorted to doing overnight loading of the product to further ease the supply. The source said Folawiyo, Capital Oil and Nipco were the marketers leading the overnight loading of petrol at the depots in Apapa, Lagos.
The source noted that the impact of the continual loading at the depots would not be felt immediately because of the excess demand that had characterised the market.
Another major marketer also told our correspondent that the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, had pumped in additional product into the system.
But he noted that major marketers had yet to start the importation of petrol. This, therefore, means all the products currently being consumed by Nigerians were sourced from the PPMC.
Meanwhile, most filling stations in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states have refused to revert to the official N87 per litre pump price.
Petrol was being sold for prices ranging from N150 to N250 per litre in these states as of Tuesday.
Transport fares, which hitherto rose by 300 per cent when the petrol supply situation was tense, had dropped by about 100 per cent as of Tuesday. More vehicular movements were experienced in these states following the improvement in product supply.
DAPPMA, however, in a statement on Tuesday, signed by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, reiterated that the association never embarked on any shutdown of members’ depots/facilities.
The statement read in part, “Contrary to the erroneous stories and messages being bandied about, it was the Petroleum Tanker Drivers arm of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers and Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, who normally transport these products from marketers’ depots, that embarked on the strike following their publicised complaints of not being paid their legitimate outstanding transport claims by marketers who participate in the Petroleum Support Fund Scheme as a result of being owed huge reimbursement for petrol imports to date.
“We have maintained that we will sell and load all petroleum products available to us even as delays in the payments of our reimbursement have continued to impede and adversely affect our operations. The suspension of loading in the last few days has been due to the strike embarked upon by the PTD-NUPENG and NARTO. These two bodies had refused to load out/ lift petroleum products for distribution from our depots. That is the true position.”
Since the unions embarked on this action, DAPPMA said it had been engaged in a dialogue with them to seek amicable ways of resolving the problem bearing in mind its debilitating impact on the Nigerian public.