A verbal battle between NNPC and merchants over gasoline scarcity

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation has attributed the country’s ongoing fuel shortage on panic purchases and shrewd tactics by certain petroleum marketers who are taking advantage of the current circumstances to increase their profits.


The corporation said it had enough fuel in its possession to put an end to the shortage and promised that the nationwide fuel lines will clear the following week.


Petroleum merchants, on the other hand, rejected the NNPC’s stance, stating that insufficient supply was a primary cause of the ongoing fuel shortage.


Remember how NNPC spokesperson Femi Soneye promised on Tuesday that the persistent scarcity of petroleum products and the ensuing lines for them would be resolved by May 1.

He said the corporation had enough petroleum supplies on hand to last at least thirty days, with over 1.5 billion liters. He continued by saying that some people might be taking advantage of the circumstance to increase their profits.


In a statement, the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria claimed that eight vessels had delivered 300 million liters of petroleum to its members this week in Apapa and other parts of Lagos.


This came after Ayo Cardoso, the South-West Regional Coordinator of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, confirmed to The PUNCH that, in addition to the 240 million liters of gasoline that were offloaded at various depots on Monday, as of Tuesday evening, nearly 85 million liters of gasoline had been offloaded.

Cardoso said that the government was making every effort to guarantee that PMS was widely distributed and that the product would soon be accessible nationwide.


He said that all of the federation’s states have their allotted amounts and that these would be distributed to shorten lines at gas stations.


“As I already stated, there would soon be adequate fuel throughout Nigeria. As of Tuesday, we had received more than 300 million liters. We’re getting more as we speak, but I can’t tell you how many. Ships will continue to arrive in Nigeria for a period of fifteen days, beginning on Monday, during which we will continue to distribute the product around the country.


“The general public shouldn’t panic; these will all shortly disappear. We are not giving any place priority, each state has its allocation to be delivered accordingly,” Cardoso stated.

The lack of petroleum supplies and long lines that most Nigerians had to endure in recent days made their living conditions worse as they tried to obtain the stuff.


Roads were empty and several people stopped their cars at different gas stations till there was petrol available.


As more people took advantage of the circumstances, product hoarding had also increased.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Midstream) expressed concern and requested that security services apprehend those who hoard PMS.


In an interview with Saturday PUNCH, Olufemi Soneye, a NNPC official, stated that the company now possesses roughly three billion liters of gasoline. He attributed the prolonged lines to panic buying and oil merchants.


“The lines are getting shorter. They won’t just clear that way because some are trying to stockpile and others are purchasing unnecessary items. We think there is enough merchandise on the market and you shouldn’t buy anything you don’t need for this reason.

Additionally, as marketers wish to take advantage of this to increase their revenue, you cannot ignore them in this. These are the difficulties, which is why the NMDPRA has been involved; it is their responsibility to make sure these filling stations are acting appropriately.


“It is our responsibility to supply the product, and as we have informed you, we have more than 1.5 billion liters accessible. Thus, the distribution is a matter for the NMDPRA to take action on. That is not what we do. Since we are not the regulator, we lack the authority to penalize filling stations that violate regulations.


Soneye added that the NNPC has doubled the amount of gasoline produced in Nigeria and demanded that marketers handle the distribution.

However, marketers operating under the banner of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria have instructed the NNPC not to hold them accountable for the lines at gas stations, claiming they have nothing to do with shady activities.


Hammed Fashola, the National Vice President of IPMAN, questioned how the NNPC could assign responsibility to marketers when they weren’t the ones importing gasoline.


Fashola stated that marketers could only hoard a commodity that was readily available, citing IPMAN’s assistance in reducing lines at gas stations.

Written by schooleiwa

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