There are strong indications that scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol is imminent because the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has become the sole importers of petrol while other marketers stopped importation.
Investigations by the Nigerian Tribune on Wednesday revealed that marketers have decided to shun importation of petrol due to scarcity of foreign exchange and non settlement of subsidy debt since 2015.
When Nigerian Tribune visited Apapa depot, it was observed that long queue of tankers waiting for loading had stretched to Ijora-Iganmu-Apapa Bridge.
Mr Femi Adewole, the Executive Secretary of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) told Nigerian Tribune on Wednesday that non availability of foreign exchange and non settlement of subsidy outstanding have been responsible for non importation of petrol by marketers.
“When this government took over in May 2015, it was agreed that outstanding debt on subsidy will be repaid overtime. But as speak, the debt, including bank interest and charges, has risen to over N660billion. The debt is about N500million while the accumulated interest is over N160billion,” he said.
He said marketers have resolved to provide logistics like through-put arrangement and storage facilities for imported products by the NNPC.
“The NNPC, in conjunction with other marketers have the capacity to ensure product availability all across the country,” he said.
A source within the major marketers who preferred anonymity posited that most major marketers have stopped importation of petrol because at the current N485/$ at the parallel market, landing cost of petrol would be over N145 which the government had recommended since May 2016.
“That’s why I have been saying that there is no deregulation of downstream sector but price control measure. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said we should source for dollars at the parallel market, but if we do and bring petrol at N152 per litre, we cannot sell at N155 per litre to break even. So who is deceiving who,” he said rhetorically.
As at time of visit to Apapa depot on Wednesday, ex-depot price was N138 per litre of petrol.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune on the issue, Ndu Ughamadu, Group General Manager (GGM), Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, said “NNPC, as the last supplier of petroleum products nationwide, have been importing these products including petrol, kerosene, diesel, aviation fuel, from its own resources. NNPC isn’t CBN, we are also marketers. We sourced for our foreign exchange to import products.”
Confirming that NNPC have assumed sole importer of petrol, the Corporation said in its latest monthly report that it was responsible for 90 per cent importation of petrol in November 2016.
While the Nigerian Tribune can confirm that no panic buying was recorded as at Wednesday, few filling stations were out of stock and awaiting supplies from tanker drivers who are having sleepless nights at the depots.