Oil marketers seek reactivation of 21 depots across Nigeria

Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has called for the reactivation of the 21 petrol depots across the country.

It said with this, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board (PEF) can be scrapped.

The association’s National Publicity Officer, Elder Ukadike Chinedu, made the call while speaking with journalists at the weekend in Abuja.

According to him, before the country moves into full deregulation of the sector, the Federal Government (FG) should ensure that all depots and facilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are functional.

“The government must make sure that all the depots and facilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation are functional. It should also ensure efficient infrastructural provision such as the railway system, to transport products from Lagos to other areas.

“That will make the price of the product to come down. That is normal; demand and supply will determine the price. When you scrap PEF, it means there is full-blown deregulation. The nearest the product is to all consumers, the better. That means the product will be everywhere in the country.

“If I am loading in Aba and there is a product in Aba depot what will be the essence of PEF? We marketers are also paying NTA, if there are products in all the depots, you wouldn’t even see trucks on the road,” he stated.

He further lamented the uncoordinated manner at which the government’s deregulation policy was being implemented, saying it has left oil marketers without resources to run their operations.

“Let me tell you that we have become service-oriented companies. We are no longer talking about profit, we are just trying to stay in business. Unfortunately, the government is not thinking about the continuity of marketers in the business.

“I also want to make it clear that in the latest pricing template released by the PPPRA which they have just reversed, you will see that the margin they gave to marketers is N6.49 per litre and if we are buying about 45,000 litre we spend close to N9.5 million.

“The same volume we use to buy for about N6.5 million or thereabout with the same profit margin of N6.49, the implication is that while the cost of purchase is increasing by the day, the government still expect marketers to sell the product at the same profit margin even when we know that the cost of operating the business continues to increase.

“What this simply means is that independent marketers may soon go out of business because as it is now, it takes one close to a N100 million to bring products to a station and the margin of gain is so small and considering interest rates from the banks, it is obvious that marketers may go under very soon,” he stated.

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