The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has said there is confusion in the oil sector in Nigeria, following the prolonged fuel scarcity that has been hitting hard on the country for months.
The Deputy National President, IPMAN, Zahra Mustapha, said this on Friday while speaking during an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily.
When asked about what was happening in the industry leading to the prolonged scarcity, Mustapha said the issue is complex, admitting that independent marketers do not also “really understand what is going on.”
He said, “The fact of the matter is that we are in a very complex situation because the burden of subsidy that the government is carrying is no more sustainable and the volume that the NNPC for now, being the sole importer of the petroleum product, PMS, has been hit hard, because of that the supply that we receive as the marketers at the loading point is being reduced by over 50 per cent.
“It doesn’t seem that they (NNPC) are bringing in more, if they are, we will be getting the volume we usually get before. Since July/August last year the volume we receive now is not up to 40 or 50 per cent of what we usually get.
“As at today with what is trending in the private depots, the volume we are getting is not enough. With the look of things in the private depots, I assume it is not enough, because if they have it they won’t hoard it.”
As regards the recent price adjustments, the IPMAN deputy president said the regulatory body would be in the best position to answer the public and give details on why and how the price was adjusted to the new one.
He, however, explained that “the cost of bringing the products to the public is not going to be achievable at the former price. With all sense of justification, I believe the regulatory body agreed to raise it up to the new amount.
“The price was not done to only appease the marketers but to ensure that the supply chain is being sustained, because the marketers are also in business and you can’t lift a product, resell it and you’re not making any returns on it, I don’t think anybody will continue to do that.
“We’re in a very dicey situation. NNPC imports, distributes to private depots and note that we independent marketers don’t have the depots. as I am talking to you today, I brought the product from a depot in Lagos at N247 per litre to be transported down to far North at the cost of N50 to N60 per litre. Not the fancy prices we are seeing.
“Even we ourselves as independent marketers, we don’t understand what is really happening. We have raised our concerns to the regulatory bodies and have told them what we’re experiencing.
“We are supposed to get this product at N148 but we are buying at N22o and it keeps increasing. 240 in Lagos, 235 in Warri, 240 in Port Harcourt, in Calabar it is as high as N250 per litre for marketers, and you buy and transport yourself to where your retail outlet is.
“There are a lot of confusions in the industry, which the government must come in and address these confusions so that the common man can get the product for the approved price. We cannot buy the product between 220 to 240 naira, transport it for about N50, which is already N300, then expect the marketer to sell to the public for N200 or N190. It is not realisable.”
He further advised the government to develop the country’s local refineries, saying that the issue of on and off scarcity will persist until our local refineries are up and running, while also condemning importation of the product by the government.
He said, “The whole concept of importation is not sustainable, we need to look for ways on how best we can produce locally.
“If you look at the population growth of Nigeria and the demand from transportation and petroleum needs, with the rate at which it is growing it is not something you can continue to sustain through importation without developing our own local refining capacity to adequately satisfy our needs as a people. Importation itself determines when and how the supply chain is going to be sustained.
“But if we have it locally with all our refineries working and transporting to the 21 depots across the country, I believe it is going to solve the issue of on and off scarcity in the country. If we are not able to start producing locally through our own refineries, I don’t think the issue can be resolved once and for all. This scarcity will continue until when we are able to develop our own refineries to meet the needs of our people.”