Fuel scarcity to end by Thursday

Consumers are expected to get a little reprieve from the current scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) from Thursday following the injection of about 100 million litres of the product into the system.
The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, told one of our correspondents that members of the body received 30 million litres of petrol from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Monday.

These, he said, were expected to be increased to 50 million litres on Tuesday (today) with additional 20 million litres from the NNPC.

“Today (Monday), the NNPC gave us 30 million litres of PMS and we expect another 20 million litres on Tuesday morning. This will bring us to a total of 50 million litres,” Olawore said.

According to him, Conoil and NIPCO have also imported 44 million litres of petrol.

“Conoil and NIPCO have brought in 22 million litres each, which brings us to another 44 million litres. Since the first quarter import allocation was given by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency last week, the marketers began importation and other major marketers are expected to bring their own before the weekend,” he said.

With about 100 million litres injected into the system and more expected to land in the country by the weekend, Olawore said consumers would soon begin to feel the impact of the fresh supply.

“By Thursday, we will start seeing the impact of the current development in fuel supply,” he said.

The NPPC, in a statement on Monday, said it had supplied 33 million litres of petrol to MOMAN for onward distribution to filling stations in the Lagos metropolis and beyond.

The acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Dr. Omar Ibrahim, stated that the extra volume of 25,000 metric tonnes of petrol, the equivalent of 33 million litres, was supplied to the marketers as part of measures by the corporation to end what he called artificial scarcity of the product.

“While we intensify our ongoing direct monitoring of fuel stations across Lagos and its environs, we are providing the extra volume of product to eliminate the noticeable queues arising from the induced scarcity,” he said.

The NNPC appealed to marketers and members of the public to refrain from hoarding and panic buying of petrol.

However, Olawore, who said it was important for him to put the record straight, stressed that MOMAN got 30 million litres of petrol on Monday and not 33 million litres as claimed by Ibrahim.

While the fresh injection is expected to bring respite to consumers, industry analysts have warned that it will only scratch the surface and that it will take more than two weeks for the fuel supply situation to normalise.

According to them, the 100 million litres can only meet about three days’ demand judging by the over 35 million-litre average daily consumption.

They warned that the impact would be minimal, while insisting that it would take time before adequate supply would go round the nation.

The fuel scarcity situation worsened on Monday as many filling stations were shut to customers, while the few ones that had the product recorded long queues of desperate motorists struggling to buy fuel.

One of our correspondents, who monitored the situation on Monday, found out that some marketers in Lagos were already making undue profit from the situation by selling the product above the N97 official pump price.

They sold the product for N110 per litre in some areas of Lagos and Ogun states.

Some of the marketers, who spoke under anonymity, attributed the increase in pump price to ancillary costs added to the ex-depot price of petrol.

“For instance, the union fees, which usually is 30 kobo per litre, now hovers around 50 kobo; so also the transport cost,” one of the marketers said.

Others claimed that they were getting the product from third party sources and could not afford to sell at N97 per litre.

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