…Allege products adulteration at depots
Lagos — Oil marketers have warned of impending fuel scarcity if the Federal Government does not find a lasting solution to rising cost of the product at the depots.
National President of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, PETROAN, Dr. Billy Gillis-Harry in a statement, said members of the group can no longer bear the brunt of increasing cost of petrol at the depots, adding that the product is currently being sold between N158 and N160.
According to him, due to increased depot price, petrol at N162 per litre is no longer sustainable as members would not pay subsidy on behalf of consumers.
Gillis-Harry’s reaction came on the heels of reports that members of the association had hiked pump price to N178 per litre.
He explained that the body has no power to increase petrol prices, but, stated that if the problem is not resolved soon, there will be product shortages as there will be no capital to restock.
He said: “What we have done is to bring the condition of the business to the knowledge of both consumers and government that the retail outlets have been having very strenuous price pressure because we are buying products at depots at N156 to N159 and even N160, so we can’t sustain selling new products.
“We have not said we are changing our prices, what we said is that the buying public should understand that with the current reality, deregulation should be the focus of what we want to do so that the price of petroleum products can be defined by the forces of demand and supply. This is not anybody sitting down to give any price.
“We do not have the locus to increase unilaterally. There is no time that any of us can increase the price. We are only bringing to the attention of the consumer and the authorities. But the reality is that we are not too far. By the end of this week, all old stocks will be depleted.
“If the old stock is depleted and the depots are insisting that we should buy at that price, there’s no way anybody can sell at N162. Simple logistics from the depots to the filling stations will take over N4 and then thereafter you start incurring expenses in dispensing, running fuel, etc.
“So, there’s no way even the N12 to N14 margin can even keep the business afloat. So, what we pleaded is that all retail outlets should have a human face and be sympathetic. When the situation comes we should be able to do what we should do.”
He appealed to the government to act fast and avert the looming scarcity by ensuring that depot owners sell at going market rates, rather than the current increased prices.
“We are alerting the government that we are buying products from the depots at a price that is alarming. That’s all we are saying and that we are under pressure.
“Right now we are doing a full graphical representation to make sure that the government is aware and that they can’t just fold their arms and be looking, because right now we are buying at N158 and nobody is saying anything,” he stated.
He alleged adulteration of products by oil marketers at the depots.