– As FG yet to implement naira payment
Lagos — Oil marketers under the aegis of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN and the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, PETROAN, have warned of inevitable petrol scarcity and price hike following government failure to implement a revert to naira-denominated invoices for excess capacity for coastal movement using the Investors and Exporters window rate.
As a result, the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, and President PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry said depot price is projected to increase from N159/litre to N165/litre, which may eventually lead to pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, rising from the current N162-N165/litre to N170/litre.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had last week agreed to revert to naira-denominated invoices for excess capacity for coastal movement using the Investors and Exporters window rate for the time being.
Although the agreement was meant to take effect immediately, however, it had yet to be implemented as at the time of filing this report.
Depot owners had lamented that payment of the charges in dollars was a major hindrance to their effective participation in products distribution, saying this had led to scarcity in many cities.
Both officials lamented that many tank farms or depots currently have no petrol, leading to price hike from the approved N148/litre price to N159/litre by the few with stock.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had severally assured that it had enough petrol to last the country all through the festive season and beyond.
The state oil company said it had over 1.7 billion litres of petrol in stock and more product was expected to arrive Nigeria daily over the coming weeks and months.
IPMAN and PETROAN members own bulk of the filling stations across the country and make purchases from depots before selling to final consumers at their various retail outlets.
“Yes, because if you look at our profit margin, you will realise that it is regulated and fixed.
“And they (government) often talk about deregulation. But you cannot do deregulation in a regulated market. There is a band and you say you are doing deregulation.
“So for marketers, any moment from now, we will be pushed to take the band above N165 to N170 if this situation continues,” IPMAN’s spokesperson, Chief Ukadike Chinedu said on the possibility of a hike in the pump price of petrol soon.
Chinedu had in en earlier interview with The Punch said there had been problems with product availability, contrary to the position of the NNPC that it had enough petrol that would last for months.
The IPMAN spokesperson said, “I want you to know that the availability of petrol is a problem. Most tank farms don’t have products. And the place to go and buy product is from the few ones that have.
“And as a result, profiteering will set in and they will be selling at N159 to N160/litre. You (marketers) will now consider moving the product to your filling stations, particularly for marketers who don’t get bridging claims.
“Now this marketer will pay close to N100,000 to be able to send the product to his station. Now when the product gets to his station, that product’s cost is almost at N163/litre. So, will he use only N2 margin to sell petrol, knowing that he will pay staff, power bill, taxes, etc?”
Chinedu added, “Marketers should not be held responsible when the pump price increases. Many tank farms don’t have products. So marketers don’t have any option because if they buy, they sell.
“If there is surplus you will see marketers selling at N162/litre or below, but right now you hardly find anyone selling at that price. I also want to let you know that by next week, products will be close to N165/litre at depots.”
President PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry, confirmed the position of IPMAN, noting that retailers of petrol at filling stations would adjust their prices upwards beyond the N165/litre if depots continued to sell at unapproved rates.
He said, “Private depot owners have increased their prices arbitrarily by themselves. Most retail outlets are very disciplined now by keeping the pump price within the band.
“But if the depots keep maintaining the N157 to N159/litre as they are doing, there will be no choice for retail outlet owners but to also add the commensurate price to it. That’s the reality.”
Gillis-Harry, however, stated that PETROAN had reported officially to the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources, which had now metamorphosed into two agencies based on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.
“We will be having meeting with the new midstream and downstream regulator soon and this will be one of the issues that will come up when we meet,” the PETROAN president stated.
SweetcrudeReports learnt that the dollar charges on port dues of fuel vessels by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Nigerian Ports Authority had been a challenge to depot owners.