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Fuel price regime fails in states

Scarcity of petrol has worsened in most states as government regulated prices collapse, Daily Trust reports. Our investigations show  that it is mainly in Abuja…

Scarcity of petrol has worsened in most states as government regulated prices collapse, Daily Trust reports.
Our investigations show  that it is mainly in Abuja and Lagos that petrol sells at the fixed price of N86.50  per  litre.
But across many states it was observed that only NNPC outlets and a few owned by major marketers sell at the official rate.
Our correspondents report that it is the independent marketers that now monoplise dominate the landscape.
In many cities, Daily Trust observed that marketers were freely selling petrol  between N160 and N180 per litre.

The officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Weight and Measures Department who are supposed to monitor compliance are never in insight.
Even with the higher prices, motorists queue for several hours before they are served.
Daily Trust observed that yesterday motorists in states like Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto,Plateau, Bauchi and Adamawa only buy fuel from independent marketers  who mostly sell at N180/litre.
Few NNPC stations and those of other major marketers were dispensing fuel in those states yesterday, our reporters said.
In Kwara, Nasarawa and Niger states prices range between N150 and N160 a litre at fuel stations.
Our correspondents report that all over the country, including in parts of Abuja and Lagos, black marketers have a field day selling fuel to desperate motorists at N200 or even N250 per litre.
However, some marketers accused the depot owners of selling petrol beyond the regulated price of N76.50 to them.
An Executive Assistant to one of the major petroleum products dealer in Bauchi state, Alhaji Mohammed Hassan, said they bought  at higher prices – N95 to N126/litre – from depot owners in Lagos.
He therefore argued that it was impossible for them to resell at lower prices because that might take them out of business. 
The President of Nigerian Association of Petroleum Station Owners, Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed, blamed the NNPC for the current petrol scarcity across the country.
He told our correspondent that the NNPC’s monopoly on imports was mainly to blame for the current shortages.
He added that the situation was compounded by the corporation’s failure to allow the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN)  access to fuel at the jetties and depots in Lagos.
He added that it was only the Major Oil Marketers that benefitted from fuel allocations from NNPC since the beginning of the year. 
He said the major marketers got fuel on credit and later resold  to independent marketers at increased price.
Mohammed said independent marketers bought  product from majors under what he called self-collection regime but “they asked us to make electronic transfers of the extra amount they charged us above the government price.”
He noted that the current product allocation was  without due consideration to the North, East and even the Niger Delta.
“How many stations do major marketers have in Yobe, Kebbi, Sokoto or Borno or in the East?   This is injustice,” he said
 Executive Secretary of major marketers association Obafemi Lawore could not be reached for comment.
Mr Femi Adewole, Executive Secretary of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), neither answered     his calls nor responded to our reporter’s text message.
But the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in its response said it had set up teams to ensure prompt delivery of petroleum products to designated filling stations.
The teams would also enforce government approved price regime and ensure that  the right quantity and quality of products are dispensed, a statement signed by DPR Director Mordecai said at the weekend.
He warned that the N2m sanction against depots and N100, 000 per dispensing pump against filling stations found to be selling above the regulated price and other related offences were still in force.
“Any Marketer found to be hoarding would have the Products dispensed free to the Public and diversion of Products would attract a penalty of N200/litre.
“The Public is hereby advised to contact the DPR 24 hours call centre (019037150 or 012790000) to report any suspected violation or sharp practice for prompt response.” DPR said.
NNPC also at the weekend said it had taken delivery of about 130m litres of petrol to alleviate  the scarcity.
In a statement by its spokesman Garba Deen Mohammed, NNPC said its immediate concern was to make petrol available through the interventions put in place so that the queues would  disappear within the next one to two weeks.
The Senior Association of Communications, Transport and Corporation (SSACTAC) in a nine- point communiqué issued at the end of a special delegates conference in Calabar called on the government to urgently institute policies that would encourage the establishment of private refineries as a way of averting persistent fuel crisis.
The group lamented that the fuel situation had grounded business activities in the country and called for decisive action to be taken urgently.

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