Petrol Scarcity Hits Lagos, Enters Fourth Week in Abuja – THISDAYLIVE

2022-10-26 10:30:13 By : Ms. Dream Wang

•Petrol marketers blame supply deficit

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Peter Uzoho in Lagos

Petrol scarcity resurfaced in Lagos yesterday, creating long queues of vehicles scrambling for the products at filling stations in many locations in the state.

Also, there appears to be no reprieve for residents of the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) and its environs, including Nasarawa and Niger as the biting petrol scarcity entered its fourth week yesterday.

In Lagos, THISDAY’s checks showed there were long queues in filling stations at Maryland, Onipanu, Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Aguda, Itire road, as some of the outlets were shut while few others were selling.

On the Iyana-Iba – Egbeda axis of the state, only two filling stations -Oando, recently bought by the NNPC and TotalEnergies were selling as at the time of filing in this report.

It was the same experience on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway with the long queues at the few filling stations causing disruption in vehicular movement on the roads.

The situation led to the hike in transport fares in Lagos with many commercial buses drivers and tricycle operators increasing their fares by over 50 per cent, leaving passengers at their mercy.

The fuel scarcity and long queues at filling station also forced many commercial bus drivers out of the road as they were unable to get fuel to power their engines, leading to passengers spending long hours on the road in search of vehicles.

Commenting on the fuel scarcity in Lagos, a top official at Rainoil Limited, who pleaded anonymity, told THISDAY that there were not sufficient products for them, adding that there was crisis in the supply system.

He said marketers should not be held responsible to the problem as they don’t import petrol, noting that only the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) could explain what was happening as they have been the sole importer of petrol since 2015.

The official said all the company’s storage facilities had run out of stock, stating that he was even confused as to how to get the next supply to continue distributing to customers.

 “Since 2015 till date, it has been the federal government that is importing fuel through PPMC, which is a subsidiary of NNPC. So other marketers have to go and queue to get allocations. So the right place to get the actual response is to go to the suppliers, which is PPMC. They are the ones giving marketers products.

“No marketer is importing fuel into the country. So if there is a scarcity, what that tells you is that there is a shortage in the system which no marketer can take responsibility other than the supplier.

“But the truth is that there is scarcity, there is crisis in the system, there is no fuel. My facilities have all run out of stock. In fact, I’m even confused, I don’t know where to get the next product for my stations. The only people that should answer to this issue is the NNPC.”

The marketer, who expressed his displeasure over the situation with petrol supply and distribution in the country, added that he had never seen the industry in such situation before.

“But there should equally be a political answer to this. I’ve not seen the industry like this for a very long time and it’s affecting those of us who are operators. We are not happy because it’s affecting our mood. My facility in Oghara has stocked out. All my facilities are all stocked out. It’s a tough one but I think Nigeria will always find a way around it,” he noted.

Also, the immediate-past Chairman of the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Managing Director of 11Plc, Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, told THISDAY that it seemed there was not enough petrol supply in the system.

He said he was only able to get a little supply from NNPC last Friday, adding that if that was the case for other marketers, it meant there was insufficient product in the system.

Oyebanji said: “On Friday, I had little quantity in my tanks and heard others waiting NNPC to deliver. So I was only able to get some over the weekend. So if that’s the case in other people, that means the product is not enough in the system.

“There is a certain number of cargoes you need in a week to come into Apapa. If they haven’t achieved that level, maybe that has contributed to it, but I can’t say for sure.

“NNPC will tell you they have sufficient stock, but sometimes, the stock may be on the high seas and not in our tanks. If you say you have enough stock and it’s on the high seas, we need it to be in our tanks for us to be able to distribute it. May be that is what is causing the problem.”

Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) has blamed the situation on the unsteady supplies witnessed in the last few days and the attendant hike in depot prices.

The National Operations Controller of IPMAN, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, attributed the petrol scarcity in parts of Lagos to the unsteady supply witnessed in the past few days.

Osatuyi in a statement issued yesterday, said as a result of the unsteady supply, depots prices had risen from N165 to N177 and N178 per litre in Apapa and its environs.

“The marketers will only sell what they buy. If the price of petrol increases, we add our transportation cost and other charges to the selling price,” he said.

He appealed to NNPC and the NMDPRA t supply enough petrol across the country to ease scarcity.

On the other hand, the NMDPRA has appealed to Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of petrol because of the scarcity, saying there was enough volume of the product in stock.

However, the Chief Executive Officer, NMDPRA, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, was quoted to have said that he had checked with the MOMAN and the NNPC on the level of fuel stock and confirmed that they had sufficient stock.

“l spoke with the MOMAN’s Executive Secretary this morning and he told me they have sufficient stock. I have directed them to start evacuating the product immediately to filling stations.

“NNPC has also confirmed sufficiency and they have commenced evacuation. From now till tomorrow the situation will be back to normal. I don’t know what is happening but we are on top of the situation,” he said.

Also in Abuja, while many fuel stations remained shut for lack of the product, the NNPC stations which had been selling the product, witnessed queues stretching over two kilometres at every point.

At the outskirts, the few filling stations which were open were selling for as much as N250 per litre, causing long queues, with motorists spending long man-hours on the fuel lines.

Chaotic scenes were seen at Conoil and Total filling stations located at the Central Business District of Abuja as motorists tried to gain entrance to the stations without having to stay on the queue.

The NNPC and the NMDPRA had blamed the floods in Lokoja, Kogi State, for the development, stressing that tankers carrying products couldn’t cross the North-central state to Abuja and environs.

Several filling stations, including the NNPC mega station in zone 1, Conoil and Total, opposite the headquarters of the NNPC, formed long queues , causing traffic jams in the capital city.

Black marketers have also taken advantage of the situation, selling their wares to interested motorists for as high as N4,000 for a 10-litre gallon container, that is, about N400 per litre.

“The Authority wishes to state that the fuel queues are caused by unprecedented flooding in Lokoja, Kogi State, which has submerged a greater part of the city and grounded all vehicular movements.

“ This unfortunately has affected the distribution of petroleum products to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and environs,” a statement from the agency had explained.

As part of measures to mitigate the situation, the NMDPRA said trucking via alternative routes was ongoing, assuring the public that there are sufficient petroleum products inland.

While commuters have been stranded, especially civil servants, drivers have hiked their fares by as much as 100 per cent in Abuja, worsening the current economic hardship.

The most hit are those living far from the city centre as for instance, fares from Dutse Alhaji to Area 1 which was hitherto N300, is currently N600 while Dei-Dei to Berger and Wuse 2 which used to be N300 and N400 is now from N500 and above.

The inclement situation is continuing despite the disclosure by the NNPC about two weeks ago that 146 tankers of the product had arrived the FCT and environs.

Executive Director, Downstream of the NNPC, Mr. Adeyemi Adetunji, explained that the water which had subsumed the link road between the south and the north in Kogi had started receding.

“We are pleased to inform the general public that more petroleum products trucks have started arriving in Abuja and other destinations as the flood which had earlier restricted the movement of trucks along Lokoja has receded.

“In addition, the federal ministry of works and housing has also intervened with the rehabilitation of 19 sections of the damaged Bida road in Niger state. As of yesterday, October 11, 2022, 146 tankers arrived Bida depot for dispatch into Abuja and environs.

“Trucks have continued to arrive Suleja depot for onward dispatch even as of today. Delivery to other parts of the country is also continuing with vehicular movement northwards,” he stated.

But spokesman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) Mr Chinedu Ukadike, however blamed it on the delay in the arrival of product vessels, explaining that this has led to a drop in the stock sufficiency level of the NNPC.

“We normally buy our products from NNPC, private depots, and private tank farm owners and some of them are located in Lagos, Warri and Port Harcourt, knowing full well that we import petroleum products in this country and most of these products are vessel driven depots and they collect products from ships.

“I think there is a shortfall in the sufficiency they have in stock because some of the mother vessels they are expecting are just arriving. There was a little delay and some of the logistics in handling charges in the depots, so these are the issues that have truncated the chain of supply,” he said.

According to him, even if the Lokoja flood has subsided, some of the trucks are still in the depots waiting to be loaded .

 Ukadike explained that most inland depots were without the product, saying it was taking longer days for trucks to move from the south to the northern parts of the country.

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