Fuel Scarcity: NNPC Blames Panic Buying, Marketers Disagree

Fuel Scarcity: NNPC Blames Panic Buying, Marketers Disagree

2 weeks ago
3 mins read

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has attributed the lingering fuel scarcity in the country to panic buying and sharp practices by some petroleum marketers.

However, petroleum marketers have disagreed with the NNPC’s position, citing inadequate supply as a major reason for the persisting fuel scarcity.

According to NNPC spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye, the company has enough liters of fuel to end the scarcity, and the fuel queues across the country would end next week.

He stated that the company had over 1.5 billion litres of petroleum products available, enough to last for at least 30 days. Soneye added that some individuals might be exploiting the situation to maximize profit.

“The queues are clearing. They won’t just clear like that, because people are trying to hoard, while others are buying what they don’t need. That is why we keep saying there is enough product; there is no need to buy what you don’t need.

“Also, you can’t exclude the marketers in this, as they want to use this opportunity to make more money. These are the issues, which is why we have involved the NMDPRA because they must ensure that the right thing is done by these filling stations.

“Our job is to provide the product and we’ve told you that we have over 1.5 billion litres available. So, the NMDPRA should please do something about the distribution. It is not our job. We are not the regulator, and we don’t have the power to sanction the filling stations that are not doing what they are supposed to do.”

READ ALSO: Fuel Scarcity: We’ve Adequate Stock, NNPCL, Marketers Assure, Promise To Clear Queues By Wednesday

On the other hand, petroleum marketers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have told the NNPC not to blame them for the queues in filling stations. They argued that they were not involved in sharp practices and could only hoard an available product.

The National Vice President of IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, wondered how the NNPC could shift the blame to marketers, who were not the importers of petrol. He stated that marketers could only divert the product that they have, and they don’t divert what they don’t have.

“That is far from the truth. You can only divert the product that you have. You don’t divert what you don’t have.

“On the issue of pricing, we are in a regime of partial deregulation. If you noticed, even before this crisis, we had different prices everywhere. That is another issue that cannot stand. “On the issue of hoarding, you cannot hoard what you don’t have. It is not even making sense when you have fuel at this critical period, then you say you want to hoard it. So, that is not true too,” he said.

Asked if the marketers were now getting the product from the NNPC, the IPMAN leader said, “Let me use this opportunity to commend the NNPC, even though they want to blame us. I think they’re trying their best to put the situation under control”.

“We have already set up a task force within the IPMAN to make sure our people play according to the rules and regulations. We are a very disciplined organization. We don’t do any sharp practices; we don’t condone that.

“If you remember, last week they told us it was a logistic problem, and we know what that means. So, why are they blaming marketers for the scarcity? We are not the importer, we are not in charge of shipment; we are not their clearing agent. We don’t even own our own depot. So, how can they blame us for that?” he asked.

The Executive Secretary of the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria, Clement Isong, also stated that even though sharp practices existed within the oil sector, they should not be blamed majorly for fuel scarcity in the country. He attributed the scarcity to logistic challenges and advised the government to flood the markets with products to solve the prevailing fuel scarcity.

He said, “There are many reasons. I don’t doubt that some sharp practices are going on, but it is too simplistic to say that is the cause of the scarcity. So, I don’t believe that they (NNPCL) will say that.”

“I do not believe they said so. I do not doubt that there may be some sharp practices here and there, but I do not believe the NNPCL would say so.”

As fuel scarcity continues to worsen the living conditions of most Nigerians, the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Midstream) has called on security agencies to pick up hoarders of PMS. The committee also urged the NNPC to do more to ensure massive distribution of PMS to reduce the queues at filling stations.


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