With the persistent scarcity of fuel, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has urged the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to revive its depots across the country to address supply chain disruptions.
Deputy National President of IPMAN, Alhaji Zarama Mustapha, made this call on Channels TV Sunrise Daily show on Thursday morning, monitored by Prime Business Africa.
There has been recurring scarcity of petroleum products in different cities across the country in the past six months. Currently, there is biting scarcity of petrol in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital. Only few outlets are selling the product, with long queues that usually spill onto major highways.
Petrol now sells between N215 and N220 in Lagos. Petrol stations with the most queues are those selling at government-regulated price.
Mustapha blamed the scarcity on logistics issues affecting supply chain within the industry and making it difficult for marketers to sell at government-approved prices.
He said the current agreed price at which the NNPC is supposed to sell to independent marketers is N148 per litre but they don’t get the product at that price, a situation that makes it difficult to sell at the approved rate. “We are getting the product as high as N195 to N210 from the depot owners and that is not really sustainable.”
He also disclosed that private depot owners are complaining of cost of transporting the products from the vessels to their depots coupled with the current high price of dollar which they use for transactions.
He called on regulatory authorities in the midstream and downstream sub sector to intervene and see how best to address the issue for better distribution management.
NNPC is in charge of importing the product but they don’t have enough storage facility; hence, the challenge of engaging private depot owners, who (more or less) buy from them.
“The whole industry is in a situation whereby the supply chain has a lot of logistics problems as it relates to getting the products from the mother vessel down to the depots. From the depots down to various retail outlets – being transported by trucks across the country.
“We have a lot of challenges in terms of distribution of the product,” Mustapha stated.
To further explain the cause of the current scarcity in Lagos, Mustapha said there was slow discharge of petrol product from vessels to depots last week because of some challenges between depot owners and the NNPC.
“I will like to call on the NNPC in particular to do everything possible to revive their depots. Most of the NNPC depots are not working. I know they are facing a lot of challenges as regards sending petroleum products through pipelines and the attendant pipeline vandalisation and other things.
“There is need for them to have more private depots at the coastal areas, just like any other private depots that have developed their depots. This is so that if it is NNPC’s product, we still get it at that N148.”
He said it is very difficult to get the product at that price now because when NNPC imports petrol, about 80 percent is supplied to private depot owners for upward sales to independent marketers who convey the product to their retail outlet across the country.
He also lamented extortion of marketers by security officers who mount road blocks on the nation’s highways, saying such also adds to cost issues that they face.
Similarly, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) had last month threatened to shutdown supply of petrol due to rampant extortion, intimidation, and violent attacks of its members by hoodlums.
On sustainable solution to the petrol scarcity challenge, the IPMAN deputy national president said government should work hard to ensure that the refineries are working to reduce dependence on importation.