Queues at filling stations across the country may continue for a longer time as the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) is yet to begin direct supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol, to members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
It would be recalled that at the peak of negotiations involving the NNPCL, IPMAN, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Department of State Services (DSS) and other stakeholders in the industry last month, the NNPCL, the sole importer of petrol, had assured the independent marketers of direct supply to their members.
IPMAN’s National Operations Controller, Mike Osatuyi, in a telephone chat with The Nation, yesterday, said his members were still waiting for the NNPCL to fulfill its part of the agreement reached at the meeting by supplying them fuel directly instead of the present arrangement where they have had to buy from a “third party”.
He regretted that despite the change of leadership at the NNPCL Retail arm, the situation had not changed.
“We reached an agreement with NNPCL for direct fuel supply since last month to give us direct supply of petrol, but till now, we are yet to get the supply. We are still buying from private depots who sell the product to us at N230 per litre and by the time it reaches our stations it is at N250 per litre. So we cannot sell at government regulated price because we don’t even get it at regulated price,” he explained.
According to him, supply issues were yet to be resolved and that was why the major marketers were not selling regularly.
Besides, Osatuyi revealed that some of the filling stations that sell at the regulated price of N180 per litre are only putting up an appearance in the public, whereas behind the scene, from their depots, they sell the commodity to private marketers at N220 per liter. “That is why some of them don’t have fuel to sell in their stations as they would have made more money sell to the independents at a higher price,” he revealed.
He regrets that the situation IPMAN has found itself has become unpalatable because its members are not also comfortable selling fuel at N250 or more a litre, but that their hands are tied as they cannot run at a loss. “Even some of our members are wondering if we have compromised on this issue because they cannot believe that by now, NNPCL would not have started selling fuel to us at the official price as agreed in that meeting,” he said.
Osatuyi assured that the group will confirm to Nigerians when NNPCL begins to dispense fuel to them at the official price and Nigerians should expect reduced price of PMS if NNPCL fulfills its promise of giving direct supply of the product to his members.
“This is what we have been clamouring for because IPMAN have been buying petrol for N220 from private depots in this period, whereas NNPCL supplies the product to depots at N113 per litre, while depots sell at N148.17 per litre and filling stations sell at the regulated price of N170 to N180 per litre.
“Instead of selling to IPMAN at the approved N148.17 per litre, as they used to do before, private depots were selling to us at N220 per litre, so how could we have sold to the public at N170 per litre?,” Osatuyi asked rhetorically.
Checks across the Lagos metropolis showed that while the long queues are still persistent at the few major marketers’ stations and NNPCL outlets that dispense fuel, however, the few IPMAN-member stations do not have any queue because of the price they sell fuel.