Increased loading in NNPC’s depots will eliminate price hike

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Increasing loading of petrol at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)’s depots nationwide will compel the marketers to sell the product at N145 per litre, some stakeholders in the industry have said.

They said in Lagos that most marketers were buying petrol from the private sources above the ex-depot price of N133.28.

In his remarks, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the immediate past Chairman, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), said that most independent marketers sourced petrol from the private depots at higher price.

Korodo said: “NNPC needs to pump more petrol to the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) depots nationwide where members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) can easily access the commodity.

“If more allocations are giving to the IPMAN members like the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), there won’t be disparity in the pump price.

“We are all aware that independent marketers operate in both major and rural areas with over 5,000 outlets compare to major marketers with few outlets.

“While major marketers are getting the product from NNPC at the official price, IPMAN members that want to remain in business are sourcing the product from the private depots.

“If only the product is available at PPMC depots nationwide, IPMAN members will sell at official price of N145 per litre,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Rotimi Benjamin, a member of IPMAN and NUPENG vice-chairman, urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to stop sealing of filling stations that are selling above the official price.

Benjamin said: “There is no justification in sealing filling stations when there is scarcity of the product. What the government should do is to make sure that the product is available in all its depots so that marketers can access fuel easily.

“By the time the product is available in every station, the forces of demand and supply will take care of the marketers selling at higher price. Sealing of stations or dispensing the product free to motorists is not the best option now.

“Many marketers borrowed money from banks with interests; how will they repay the loans,’’ he asked?

In his remarks, Chief Folorunso Alake, the former Secretary-General of IPMAN, Ibadan branch, said that he had closed his six filling stations in Osun and Ekiti due to high cost of the commodity at the private depots.

Alake said the majority of IPMAN members were buying the product at N180 per litre from the private depots, adding “I stand to be corrected’’.

According to him, if IPMAN members who have the largest filling stations nationwide are finding it difficult to get the product from NNPC depots, it will be difficult to marketers to sell at the official price.

“NNPC should do the right thing to end scarcity of the product,’’ he said.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, had on Thursday denied news reports that the Federal Government was planning to increase the pump price of petrol.

Idang Alibi, the Director of Press in the ministry, made the clarification in a statement.

“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources will like to categorically state that the minister never mentioned, nor insinuated the need or plans by the Federal Government to increase the current pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).” Alibi said.