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High petrol imports fail to douse fuel queues across states

Up to a million tonnes of petrol is been shipped into Nigeria from Europe monthly compared to roughly 700,000 tonnes imported last October but petrol…

Up to a million tonnes of petrol is been shipped into Nigeria from Europe monthly compared to roughly 700,000 tonnes imported last October but petrol queues get longer in many states across the country.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been working overtime to replenish petrol depots following shortages and queues that popped up across the nation in December.

The NNPC during the week confirmed that it has programmed to bring in two cargoes of petrol per day for the rest of February 2018 to boost supply.

The measure, the corporation said, was part of efforts to keep the country wet with petrol and eradicate the fuel queues that have resurfaced in some cities.

According to its spokesman Ndu Ughamadu each of the two cargoes is 50 million litres, making a total of 100 million litres that will be brought in per day for the rest of February to increase supply and replenish strategic reserves.

Also to enhance supply, he said 45 million litres of petrol was discharged from ships into jetties across the country yesterday.

According to Ughamadu, prior to the fresh 45 million litres discharge, there was 324 million litres of petrol on land and 432 million litres in marine storage making a total of 756 million litres, enough to last for 22 days at 35 million daily consumption rate. 

The corporation assured that with the measures in place, the fuel queues being experienced in some cities would soon be a thing of the past.

Despite the high volume of petrol imports, insufficient supply has continued to compel many fuel stations across the states to ration the product thereby causing queue of vehicles at retail stations to linger.

Records of daily PMS truck out to Abuja and environs showed that PMS supply to retail outlets have been fluctuating since January. In the last one week, daily PMS truck out has average 101 trucks compared to roughly 140 trucks supplied sometime late January.

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun a fortnight ago said NNPC was importing fuel at a higher price than it was selling, adding that the loss on the importation of PMS was being borne by NNPC and therefore indirectly being borne by all Nigerians.

However, checks by our correspondents across the country showed that only Abuja and Lagos filling stations sell the product at the official government approved price of N145 per litre.

In Oyo State, our reporter observed that filling stations sell PMS between N180 and N200 per litre depending on the area where the filling station is situated. 

A commercial driver, Tunji Badmus, who spoke with Daily Trust in Ibadan described buying of fuel as a difficult pill to swallow.

He lamented that even with the increment in the transportation fare commercial drivers were at the receiving end, as many were not making enough money to take them home.

In Kano, our reporter who went round to observe the situation in the city found that only a few filling stations were dispensing the product at N145 per liter.

Some vehicle owners who spoke to Daily Trust blamed the lingering fuel crisis on the inability of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to efficiently regulate the activities of independent petroleum marketers in the city.

Awalu Ibrahim Kofar Nasarawa, a motorist said that most of the filling stations in Kano metropolis have fuel but they deliberately refuse to sell in the day but later sell around 2am at unofficial price of between N225 and N230 per liter.

Kano State chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Alhaji Bashir Dan’Malam assured the public that the fuel crisis will soon be over, adding that all registered marketers in Kano have been allocated 2 trucks daily with a view to making the commodity available.

In Sokoto, checks by our correspondent revealed that apart from A.A Rano and the NNPC Mega station along Gusau Road, other filling stations were dispensing fuel at prices ranging from N200 to N215 per liter, particularly the ones owned by independent marketers.

When contacted, the Zonal Comptroller of the DPR, Alhaji Mohammed Makera said he had deployed his men to enforce government approved price in their catchment areas.

“On Tuesday, alone we sealed seven filling stations, five in Sokoto and two in Kebbi and we will continue enforcing the price until all the filling stations comply,” he said.

Our reporter in Lagos observed that fuel price at filling stations in Lagos metropolis remained at N145 per litre but the Lagos State chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) lamented members’ inability to get supply from private depot owners as some of them have hiked their retail prices.

Its chairman Alhaji Alanamu Balogun, said “There is no improvement yet. We are still where we were three weeks ago in terms of supply. Right now, the private depots that get supplies from NNPC are selling above ex-depot price. Some of them are selling at N155 and N160 per litre.”

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