Queues: Why Petrol Prices Have Slightly Increased – Marketers

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Petrol marketers have blamed the fresh petrol scarcity in the country on supply challenges on the part of the sole importer of the premium commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

The marketers said they have had to resort to depot owners to get petrol available at their retail outlets hence the “slight” increment in the prices of the indispensable product across the country.

The National President of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Billy Gillis-Harry, spoke on behalf of the marketers on Tuesday’s Channels Television’s The Morning Brief breakfast programme.

Petrol scarcity hit the country late with the state-managed NNPC blaming the shortage on “adverse weather conditions” and “flooding”.

Snake-like queues have been seen at filling stations across the country. The situation has worsened traffic in states as the long queues spilt on major roads, hindering vehicular movement just as thousands of people were stranded at bus stops with transport fares doubling the previous amounts.

Aside from NNPC filling stations selling at about ₦570 in Lagos, retail outlets owned by independent marketers jerked up their prices from about ₦615 to over ₦650. The prices are far higher in Abuja and other states.

PETROAN chief (Gillis-Harry) confirmed that the NNPC, which imports petrol into the country and supplies marketers, has not changed its price but “if we do not get the product directly from NNPC, we will get it from depots struggling to do everything to get products out in the market, so the prices will not be the same”.

FILE: Motorists queue up for petrol at a filling station in Abuja on Monday, April 29, 2024. Photo: ChannelsTV/Sodiq Adelakun

‘NNPC Should Explore Alternatives’

He said the NNPC was carrying out an upgrade on its platform and that should be concluded as soon as possible “but that did not stop NNPC from making alternative arrangements to make sure we have petroleum products. As far as we know, the challenges are all supply-based”

“If there is anybody to be blamed; it should be blamed from the source of the products because retailers only sell what we are given, we do not import or refine,” he added.

Gillis-Harry said the cost of logistics was getting more complex daily because diesel used by trucks has also become scarce and expensive. He said the prices of logistics for fuel distribution across Nigeria should be subsidised by the government.

He denied the allegations that petrol marketers are taking advantage of Nigerians by hiking the prices of the commodity. He said the highest cost of petrol should not be more than ₦680.

“I would expect that the highest price in petroleum where the depots operate – Lagos, Delta, Calabar, Rivers State – should be anything between ₦620 to ₦680 maximum. And when you add all the transportation issues that should take it from state to state, you can then look at the incremental additions that can come in, and make us not to be selling at ₦1,000,” Gillis-Harry said.

FILE: Black marketers in action in Abuja on Monday, April 29, 2024. Photo: ChannelsTV/Sodiq Adelakun

Forex Shortage

The PETROAN chief said forex shortages have impeded the importation of petroleum products into the country hence limiting the full operationalisation of the deregulation of the sector.

“If we are importing products in a way that the deregulation is set for us to be able to import, which we desire to do, but we are hamstrung by the unavailability of foreign exchange to make that endeavour work. Even though we don’t want Nigeria to be an import-centred place for PMS, we need PMS to be able to work until our refineries are producing,” he said.

Gillis-Harry urged Nigerians to be patient and understanding as the current fuel shortages would be resolved.

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