By Elohor Igbru and Taiwo Ajala
There is no respite for residents of the Federal Capital Abuja as long fuel queue continues to spread with few stations with the commodity hiking the price to N250 per litre, InfactNG can report.
Some filling stations in Lagos, Abuja, Niger and other states dispensed Premium Motor Spirit at between N200/litre to N250/litre on Sunday, higher than the government-approved retail price of N165/litre, as queues for the product extended to more states.
InfactNG gathered that the persistent fuel scarcity in the capital city since February 2022 and the worsening crisis in Lagos, Niger, Oyo and other states is due to the inability of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to supply adequate refined petrol for internal consumption.
The situation has left Nigerians in the hands of independent marketers who have refused to sell at the government approved price.
The situation in the Federal Capital has seen fuel prices by black marketers rise up to N700 per litre in March but has come to stabilize to N300-450 by June ending.
According to reports, oil marketers have denied claims of product hoarding or diversion, stressing that the insufficient supply of PMS by NNPC and the non-payment of bridging claims for the transportation of petrol were the key reasons for the scarcity.
The President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, told newsmen that filling stations that had products were dispensing, while those that were shut had no petrol to sell.
“The problem is that every side needs to be transparent. We, as retail outlet owners are ready to sell petroleum products to the teeming Nigerian public. We have no reason why we should not sell our products.
“The money used in buying the 45,000 litres of petrol from depots, almost N7m, is borrowed, and time-bound. So every retail outlet owner knows that the wise thing to do in this business is to sell out and try to turn around that sale as many times as possible.
“So with this scenario in view, there is no retail outlet owner that is hoarding product or diverting it. Yes, we know there may be bad eggs among the good bunch, but the fact that we are not having sufficient products is what has remained the cause of fuel scarcity.”
Gillis- Harry added: “In the case of Abuja, it is clear to understand that if the bridging claims are paid to marketers, they will be able to continue their products’ purchase cycle. That is just the reality. So payment of bridging claims is an issue and insufficient supply is also another issue.
“This is because if there is product and there is money for us to buy, then why won’t we buy and sell? What else are we in business for? Are we going to buy products and keep them? The answer is no! So this is the reality.”
On the solution, he said the subsidy regime should end: “There is a solution and it is simple. The subsidy that is being paid should be stopped. The money should be channeled to other developmental infrastructures such as health, education, etc.
“And since the refineries have not been fixed by the government, they should either give it wholly to private sector practitioners like PETROAN that own the retail outlets to manage.”