17 February 2015, Lagos – There are indications that petrol marketers are out to inflict hardship on Nigerians by hoarding the product six weeks to the general elections. This may not be unconnected with the apparent cold war between marketers and the management of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA.
Some of the marketers had accused the PPPRA of corruption and lack of transparency by removing the pricing template on its website against international best practices established by Platts and other organisations that publish oil prices.
When Vanguard visited Forte Oil Filling Station at Abule Ado area of Lagos, long queues of buyers were seen waiting for the product, while the attendants were reluctant to attend to them.
Similar scenario played out at the Oando Station at Festac Town where the product was not sold. Also, at the Forte Oil Station opposite Berger Yard, sales were made from only one point, with the attendants creating the impression that the product is scarce.
When contacted, one of the male attendants who chose to be anonymous told Vanguard that they are not sure of the next supply which they have been waiting for in the last two days.
While the Forte Oil Station at Second Rainbow Bus Stop, close to Mile 2 remained close, the Fatgbems Station had long queues, while dispensing petrol from two out of the six pumps.
A male attendant, who refused to identify himself, said they had orders to sell only from two pumps. Recall that some of the marketers had accused PPPRA of dragging the country back to the “dark days of unbridled corruption in the payment of subsidy to marketers.”
“The prices of products are not supposed to be official secret if PPPRA has nothing to hide. The International Air Transport Association, IATA, publishes Jet Fuel Monitor, showing the price of jet fuel worldwide. The Jet Fuel Price provides the latest price data from Platts, showing the global average price.
“Platts also publishes oil prices, which are available on subscription. But our own PPPRA, which is saddled with the responsibility of managing PSF established with public fund, is hiding the prices of petroleum products from Nigerians. Subsidy is paid with taxpayer’s money, so why are they hiding the price of products and how the money is administered? They want to create an avenue for corruption to thrive,” said one of the marketers, who pleaded anonymity.
Calls put to Mr. Lanre Oladele, Head, Public Affairs of PPPRA for his reaction was not returned, and neither did he reply the text message sent also to him.