Marketers say lack of import vessels is driving new fuel scarcity

NEWS DIGEST – The Independent Marketers revealed on Wednesday that it was becoming increasingly difficult to purchase petrol product in the country due to depleted stocks at private and public depots.

Fuel scarcity became a theme again in the early days of this week, and until Wednesday, citizens had concluded that the week-long flood had made it difficult for conveying vehicles to distribute the product.

“There is a serious lag in product sufficiency from NNPC because of the unavailability of mother vessels. These are vessels that ship the product from abroad,” said Ukadike Chinedu, the spokesperson of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.

“It is not just about flood, because the scarcity is hitting many other parts of the country. There was serious scarcity in Port Harcourt and you can see what is happening in Lagos now. In Abuja it has been there since.”

Not even the NNPC has stocks of petrol to distribute, Mr Ukadike described how bad the situation has become.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers are suggesting an increase in the price of premium motor spirit to help oil marketers avoid an impending shortfall in revenue from the current fuel scarcity.

“We now buy products from depots at N179 – N180/litre; for those who manage to get. That is why we the independent marketers are tired of this epileptic distribution of PMS,” Mr Ukadike said.

At the current benchmark of N182/litre set by the Federal Government during the previous fuel scarcity months ago, fuel retailers are guaranteed huge losses after factoring transportation cost if they were to buy the products at N179-N180/litre from depots.

According to the IPMAN, it has become impossible to continue to dispense fuel at the current rate since maritime and vessel charges have increased significantly.

“Some of the depot charges are paid in dollars, and these are transactions that are done here in Nigeria.”

Ukadike says it’s about time the federal government breathe life into the nation’s refineries. “Our dependence on imports is really devaluing our naira and bringing suffering on the masses. One dollar is now N760 at the parallel market.”

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