Fuel Scarcity: NNPC replies petrol marketers on cause of crisis

FILE PHOTO: Fuel Queue
FILE PHOTO: Fuel Queue

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, on Wednesday continued the blame game over the current fuel scarcity.

On Tuesday, the Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, in a statement in Lagos accused the NNPC of leaving his members’ depots empty of petroleum products, while Nigerians suffered on fuel queues at filling stations across the country.

Mr. Adewole blamed the NNPC for the fuel crisis. He accused the state-owned oil corporation of assuming the role of the sole importer of petroleum products, despite that DAPPMA members owned 80 per cent of the functional fuel storage facilities and retail outlets in the country.

“It is on record that any time NNPC assumes the role of sole importer, there are issues of distribution, because it is marketers who own 80 per cent of the functional receptive facilities and retail outlets in Nigeria,” Mr. Adewole said.

He traced the roots of the current fuel crisis to the inability of those contracted by the NNPC to supply petrol under the Direct Sales – Direct Purchase, DSDP, arrangement to deliver, due to pricing challenges.

Besides, Mr. Adewole said, although NNPC usually relied on the facilities of the marketers, including DAPPMA, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN and independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, to distribute imported products, the corporation was unable to meet their demands.

“Our members pay PPMC (Pipelines and Products Marketing Company)/NNPC in advance for petroleum products. But, fully paid up PMS orders that have neither been programmed nor loaded is in excess of 500,000 MT (about 800,000,000 litres) as at today, enough to meet the nation’s needs for 19 days at a daily estimated consumption of 35,000,000 litres,” Mr. Adewole alleged.

The statement came in the wake of allegations that the current crisis was instigated by the marketers. Some Nigerians including government officials accuse marketers of taking advantage of controlling the bulk of the fuel distribution facilities and outlets to divert and hoard products supplied by NNPC.

But, in its reaction on Wednesday, the NNPC in a statement accused DAPPMA of insincerity, describing as “very unfortunate” the association’s claim that the crisis was as a result of its members being denied products.

“NNPC wishes to affirm that it has supplied appreciable volume to DAPPMA, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) to rid the challenges currently being experienced in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country,” the NNPC said in a statement by its spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu.

“NNPC regrets that DAPPMA, which members had taken receipts of products from Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, and owe the company to the tune of N26.7 billion as at December 21, 2017, has the audacity to indict NNPC unjustifiably,” Mr. Ughamadu said.

Mr. Ughamadu said DAPPMA’s claim that the current fuel scarcity was due to the inability of the DSDP partners of NNPC to deliver was “unfounded and self-indicting.” He said many DAPPMA members also patronise the same DSDP partners.

The NNPC said it became the sole importer and supplier of petrol to the Nigerian market because DAPPMA members were unable to meet expectations. This is despite the concession by government giving DAPPMA access to foreign exchange to import petrol at an official rate of N305 to the dollar, the spokesperson said.

On what the corporation was doing to resolve the crisis, the NNPC said in addition to the increase in the supply of petrol since the beginning of this month (December 2017), it has also programmed to supply over 1.2 billion litres of the white products in January 2018.

“This will translate to about 40 million litres of PMS supply per day, against about 700 trucks (about 27million – 30million) litres per day that Nigerians ordinarily consumes,” Mr. Ughamadu said.

Despite the current challenges, he reassured Nigerians that there was no plan to increase pump price of petrol above N145 per litre.

“The NNPC will continue to maintain ex–depot price of N133.28 per litre, which guarantees the pump price not exceeding the N145 per litre capped by the government.

“All stakeholders are implored to support the efforts of government to bring a speedy end to the current fuel distribution challenges being experienced in parts of the country as this is not the time to play the blame game,” he said.

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