…PENGASSAN blames depot owners for scarcity
*Fuel queue resurfaces.
12 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – As most filling stations in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital remain shut following the scarcity of premium motor spirit, commonly known as petrol, consumers and motorists have been forced to buy from black market operators at N250 per litre.
A check around the city shows that majority of petrol stations along major roads in the state are not dispensing fuel, while others were under lock and key.
The few filling stations who are open for business are selling at N170 and N180 per litre, albeit with very long queues of three to four lines that spills into the road.
Those who cannot stay on the queue for hours are forced to buy the product from black marketers for as high as N250 to N300 per litre.
Investigation shows that most filling stations are not selling not because they lack products, but are hoarding in wait for when the price will double at early 2018, so they can make excess profit.
Speaking on the development, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, said it was a violation to sell above approved pump price, since the government has not deregulated fuel price.
Assistant Secretary of PENGASSAN, Port Harcourt Zone, Mr. Prince Oshodi, said the root cause of the situation was greed on the part of marketers, who buy product from depot at regulated prices then sell in the filling station at their own price to make triple profit, thereby putting the burden on consumers.
Oshodi said the Department of Petroleum Resources has been urged to step into the matter, since it was a regulatory responsibility.
“Basically you know at any given moment people always want to make extra gains at the filling station by engaging in sharp practices such as under delivery (meter adjustments) and over pricing.
“Marketers at filling stations take advantage by hoarding petroleum products, skyrocket their prices and putting the average man at peril who keeps on buying at higher prices while queuing for days to get the product, making life unbearable for Nigerians.
“As a union we are against it, because it is affecting everybody, so we don’t want it to continue. We want the right thing to be done and it is not rocket science.
“The dubious cost from the depot owner, marketers and pump attendant falls on the customer who buy the product at the filling station is going to be the one to bear the brunt of all these their dubiousness.”
Prince Oshodi also blame the situation on unlicensed pump buyers who deprive marketers from buying products directly from depot, but acts as middleman between depot owners and marketers.
“Basically we need to look at the cause of the problem, and it is not far-fetched, the cause is at the depot.
“We have called on DPR to step in because it’s a regulatory responsibility. There are so many unlicensed pump buyers who buys products off the shore, especially during festivity periods like this, they engage in sharp practices to make quick profit.
“They buy from depot, hoard the product and sell at higher prce to marketers. Most of them do not even have filling stations. So they add N2 to N3 to sell to the marketers, and at the end of it, it’s the consumers that bears the brunt; that is why you see products are now sold at N180 and above.”