Motorists and commuters in Abuja and Lagos woke up to a rude shock on Sunday morning to find most filling stations shut, with few others operating swamped by scores of vehicles on long queues waiting to buy petrol.
When Daily Sun went around Abuja metropolis, it was only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stations that were dispensing product at N162/litre. Few other independent marketers selling at N163/litre still had long queues in their outlets.
From Kubwa to Wuse, most stations along the expressway were shut.
A motorist, Charles Akachi told Daily Sun he was perplexed on discovering that many filling stations had shutdown on Sunday morning.
However, a senior official in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources who pleaded anonymity attributed the current scarcity to hoarding by independent oil marketers hoping for fresh fuel price increase with crude oil price at $67/barrel at the international market.
Daily Sun learnt that for days running, anxious marketers have expected an increase in pump price of petrol to reflect current soaring price crude price. “It’s just an anticipation of price increase by marketers. But this will be over by tomorrow,” he said.
Sources at the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), however, hinged the scarcity on the NNPC and private depots gradually running out of stock.
“Petrol tanker drivers now wait longer than necessary to load products even after making payments. The accusation of hoarding is wrong as petrol is scarce in reality,” a source told Daily Sun.
Private oil marketers are currently selling petrol for between N165 to N168 per litre instead of N158 per litre contained in the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA) template.
Last week, Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Chris Ngige, after a bipartite meeting of the Federal Government and organised labour at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa Abuja, noted that the government would meet with governors to decide on petrol price matters. “The NNPC has explained that what they are doing is import-dependent. Deregulation is import-dependent, but they are doing bulk purchasing. So, they can get discounts. They are also using a foreign exchange that is discounted for them. They are not buying from the parallel market. So, all these things will be put in a basket and a price will emerge from it,” he said.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr. Mele Kyari, has repeatedly stated that petrol pump price would be determined by market forces as the government has discarded the subsidy regime. Moreover he said no provision was made for subsidy payment in the 2021 budget.
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has urged Nigerians to stop panic buying and stocking of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol.
Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, the National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
Yakubu fielded questions on the long fuel queues recorded at some filling stations in Abuja. He decried the panic purchases and long queues witnessed in various filling stations across the nation’s federal capital.
Yakubu however said that crude oil price has gone up and it has affected the price products.
He assured Nigerians that normal supply of petroleum products would soon be restored since loading have commenced at various deports.
“We want to assure the buyers that government and marketers are doing everything possible to ensure that the products are available in every filling station within a few days starting from today,” said the IPMAN spokesman.
But some motorists who expressed disappointment over the development, urged filling stations that has fuel to sell.