By Yunus Yusuf
Lagos – The Independent Petroleum Markers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Western Zone, on Friday urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the NNPC to clamp down on private depots selling petrol above ex-depot price of N 133.28k.
Alhaji Debo Ahmed, the Zone Chairman, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Ahmed said that the closing of private depots selling petrol above government approved price by the regulatory agency became necessary to forestall the association threats to withdraw its services across Lagos State and part of Ogun State as from Dec. 11.
He alleged that most private depots owned by Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) in Apapa were selling petrol between N141 and N143 per litre as against ex-depot price of N133.28k.
According to him, “We urged DPR, NNPC and all other regulatory agencies saddled with monitoring of depot petroleum pricing to live up to their responsibilities by closing any private depot selling products above government’s approved price.
“The increase in price of petrol by depots is killing our members because most marketers will be forced to shut down their stations if the situation continues.
“The DPR and NNPC seem to be helpless in this situation where the private depots sell petrol above the ex-depot price.
“Many IPMAN members cannot buy petrol from NNPC depots because the product was not sufficient and not all NNPC depots are working.
“Ore and Ilorin depots are not working, while Lagos and Ibadan are doing partial loading,’’ he said.
Ahmed said that due to insufficient petrol at NNPC depots, most marketers are forced to buy the product from private depots.
The IPMAN boss, however, urged the relevant authorities to urgently look into the issues to avert its members from closing their over 1,200 filling stations, which might lead to fuel crisis during the Yuletide.
However, the Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Mr Olufemi Adewole, denied the allegation of selling petrol above ex-depot price by its members.
According to Adewole, our members are selling petrol at government approved price, but we should also note that not all depot owners are DAPPMA members.
“If non-DAPPMA members sell above ex-depot price, we don’t have right over them.
“IPMAN cannot just make blanket accusation against DAPPMA of selling petrol above ex-depot price.
“There is no truth in what they are saying to the best of my knowledge; we are selling at government’s approved price, though, we are losing money.
“The challenge we are facing now is that banks are not giving us money to buy the product because government is owing us and they are yet to pay.
`But some of our members are bringing in the product and buying from NNPC because they are the sole importer,’’ he said.
One of the depot owners who spoke to NAN correspondent on account of anonymity said that the increase in ex-depot price was caused by lack of petrol.
The depot owner said that NNPC which remains the sole importer of the product also contributed to the increase, adding that the product imported was not enough.
He said that destruction of the Bulk Oil Plant (BOP) jetty in Apapaby fire had also been another major challenge, adding that majority of the major oil marketers could not load product from the jetty.
According to him, the closure of BOP is partly responsible for the scarcity because no vessel discharged at the jetty in the last three months.
“The jetty is where major oil marketers used to load their products.
“Most of the major oil marketers have been loading from other jetties,’’ the depot owner said. (NAN)