The fuel scarcity which surfaced in Lagos late Monday night eased slightly yesterday as more filling stations opened up their outlets for sale to motorists.
The filling stations that sold fuel have however adjusted their fuel dispensing machines to reflect an increased pump price. For instance at Heyden filling station in Ilupeju, petrol sold for N179 per litre against its previous pump price of N169/litre before the scarcity. Some other independent marketers in the state sold the product for between N180 and N195 per litre.
The new pump price, marketers claim, is in reaction to a hike in depot price of the product which rose from N148.17 per litre to N178 per litre at the private depots. Checks showed that some major NNPCL station in the Lagos metropolis closed to motorists as they claimed they had no stock.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Western Zone, has attributed the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol, to the hike in depot price of the commodity by private depot owners.
The Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Western Zone, Dele Tajudeen, confirmed the price hike by private depots since last week, a situation he said has been further compounded by the non-availability of petrol in any of the NNPC depots.
“None of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) depot has petrol and the private depots took advantage of the situation to hike the price. The only option for our members is to opt for private depots to keep our business moving. We are totally against the increase because it will affect our profit margins and the masses. Some private depots who have product, deliberately, refused to sell for reasons best known them,” Tajudeen explained.
In Ibadan, Oyo state capital, the queues which began late Tuesday night had become more visible by yesterday morning as commercial motorists and private car owners storm petrol stations for the product.
In Ilorin, Kwara State, filling stations owned by IPMAN, sold the product to motorists at N190/litre.
Although fuel still sold at the approved pump price as at yesterday morning, major fuel marketers including SAO, Bovas, Wheeldrop among others have long queue of buyers at their entrance gates.
The situation was not different in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state yesterday as motorists spent several hours at filling stations trying to buy the commodity. Some filling stations sold a litre of the petrol above N200/litre.
At Bovas filling station along the Federal Poly Road, a long queue caused traffic gridlock as motorists were struggling to buy petrol. Similarly, a long queue was sighted at Matrix filling station at Adebayo Area of Ado metropolis with PMS being sold at the approved rate.
Reacting to the development, an official of the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), who preferred to be anonymous, blamed the scarcity on shortfall in product allocation from the NNPCL.
The source, according to reports by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) alleged that DAPPMAN had many performance invoices with the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) which were still awaiting cargoes to get supplied.
“We have so many invoices before NNPC that have not been allocated. Ex-depot price has been between N162 and N163 per litre for marketers within Lagos and its environs, while between N164 and 165 for marketers outside Lagos like Calabar, Port Harcourt, Owerri and so on. Some foreign vessels that came into the country refused to discharge, due to financial challenges.
The shortfall in product can best be explained by NNPC and its agencies,” the source was quoted by NAN. In what has now become the trademark of the General Manager, Public Affairs, NNPCL, Garba Deen Muhammad, for two days, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to him for comments on the scarcity and the claims of emptiness of its depots.