The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) says the distribution crisis caused by vandalism of depots belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited should be blamed for petrol scarcity in parts of the country.
Chinedu Okoronkwo, IPMAN president, spoke on Tuesday during an interview.
In the last few days, many Nigerians have been grappling with petrol scarcity as queues have surfaced in filling stations across the country. Some stations sell petrol above N230 per litre while the black market price is as high as N300.
Amid the scarcity, there have been insinuations that oil marketers may be hoarding the product to force a hike in the price.
Speaking on the development, the IPMAN president denied the claim that oil marketers are to blame.
Okoronkwo explained that since 80 percent of NNPC depots have been vandalised, the product is now being kept in the depots of private individuals, who bear the cost of transporting the product from the ports to their depots.
“I think I want to debunk it. It is very important to know where we (IPMAN) belong within the chain. This product – PMS – is the product the government is still paying subsidy for, that is government brings it in – NNPC,” the IPMAN president said.
“Remember that nearly all the NNPC depots are not working, over 80 percent of them, because of vandalism. We have at least 21 (referring to NNPC depots) that I can count. When they bring this product in, they now begin to put it in private depots and pay them triple charges.
“When this product is pumped into those depots, the owners of depots claim to have ownership. Our members cannot easily access this product. They are now made to buy from tank farm owners, that is the third party.
“When this product is gotten from the mother vessel, those tank farm owners will go and bring it. They will now put their cost. You don’t expect them not to break even. These are the people who will now in turn sell to us.
“Those who get from NNPC directly, it is N148.19 per litre. These private tank farm owners, by the time they begin to put their own charges, which involve hiring vessels, NIMASA, NPA, and a lot of things associated, from their depots, you can get it for either N185 or N210.
“Their excuse will be they hire vessels to take the product from the mother vessel and some of these things are dollarised so you have no choice.”
Speaking on the availability of the product, the IPMAN president said NNPC has enough in stock.
“Those who have the muscle and everything still buy it. This product is there it is because of what I just said. NNPC has enough stock but because of this distribution something which we need to do something about this situation,” he added.