As Nigerians returned to pre-democracy era of fuel scarcity; Oil marketers have reiterated the Federal Government to put an end to the monopolistic privilege enjoyed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC for free market participations.
From all available records, NNPC currently enjoys monopoly on importation and supply of petroleum products into the country as the result of that oil marketers said the market situation was creating more problems for the country.
Marketers group under the auspices of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, during a briefing with newsmen on Thursday, said as part of permanent measures to curb fuel scarcity, other marketers should also be given a free and fair play in the importation of products.
According to them, Oil marketers have consistently complained about their inability to import products due to forex scarcity, rising inflation, including excess and multiple import charges and taxes by the Customs and relevant government agencies.
In amidst of all this fuel scarcity controversial, the NNPC spokesperson, Garba Deen Muhammad, group general manager, group public affairs division at the NNPC, had yet to respond officially.
The Chairman of the Association, Olumide Adeosun, said the current scarcity of petrol was occasioned by supply inadequacy in the last few weeks as well as distribution challenges created by the unavailability and continuous surge in international prices of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel).
“In the interim, MOMAN recommends that the current single supplier strategy be reviewed.
“MOMAN, as an Association, fears that the current supply framework cannot guarantee steady and consistent supplies to the country given the current state of government finances and unpredictable international supply shortages. We, therefore, recommend a gradual price deregulation with targeted palliatives (eg. transport and agricultural subsidies) to the public to ease implementation,” MOMAN said.
It also recommended that that the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and other relevant MDAs, set up a taskforce to immediately focus on increasing diesel supply through accelerated initiatives to increase local modular refining capacity.
Market survey around petrol stations in Lagos revealed that five litres of petrol at the black market was sold for between N2,000 to N3,000 on Wednesday.
Many residents, who spoke on the fuel situation, decried the unnecessary hardship they were subjected to in getting petrol as the scarcity was biting harder in major parts of Lagos, and neighbouring towns, forcing many people to spend hours at the filling stations.
Despite the federal government’s reassurance, the ongoing shortage of petrol is worsening across major cities in the country, and some marketers blame current development on the inability of the NNPC to meet supply gaps.
The Ameh News recall that in January, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and its partners imported petrol that is high with methanol and which failed to comply with local standards.
“Current challenge shows why we need to have a good emergency plan; even if we have refineries producing PMS, they can go down for maintenance. We should use this as a learning for when the refineries come, and that the scarcity can be prevented with good planning.”