Nigerians should brace up for more challenges as the Independent marketers of Petrol, are getting set to shut down operations beginning from Monday, February 6, once the government starts the enforcement of N195/litre pump price.
It was gathered on Saturday that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, security agencies and the downstream regulator had all agreed that petrol be sold at N195/litre.
Oil marketers said the agreement was reached at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, as participants resolved that beginning from Monday, February 6, 2023, the pump price of petrol should not exceed N195/litre, a development which dealers, particularly independent marketers, described as tough due to the high ex-depot price of the commodity.
They told newsmen that to avoid having their outlets sanctioned, many filling stations operated by independent marketers would be shut from Monday as it made no business sense to sell a product lower than the cost price.
This is likely to further prolong the petrol scarcity and queues in many parts of the country as independent marketers control about 80 per cent of filling stations nationwide.
IPMAN’s National President, Debo Ahmed, told our correspondent that the approved ex-depot price of petrol was recently raised from N148/litre by the NNPCL to N172/litre, but depots hardly dispense the commodity at this cost.
Ahmed, who was reacting to the notice to members issued by the Public Relations Officer, IPMAN Ibadan Depot branch, Mojeed Adesope, stated that marketers were advised to sell the product in stock now before the enforcement begins on Monday.
“If you are taking it further than 400 kilometres from the place of purchase, you are going to get the bridging claims or price equalisation. But if you are taking it within 120 kilometres or around that distance, you will get some little allowance to make you sell at a controlled price.
“But, the truth is that we don’t get the product at the controlled price of N172, which is why you see a lot of areas where they sell at higher prices.
However, for MOMAN, because they get it at the controlled price, they take it from their depots to their stations and sell it at lower prices compared to independent marketers. Mind you, independent marketers control about 80 per cent of retail outlets in Nigeria.”
In Lagos, most of the outlets that sold the product on Saturday had long queues of desperate motorists, with some selling for between N280 and N350 per litre.
A similar situation was prevalent in Ogun State, where motorists struggled to get petrol from the few filling stations that had the product. Some stations on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway sold the product for between N320 and N380 per litre.
A commercial motorist, Idris Adewale, said he had banked on getting petrol at the Nipco filling station at Magboro for N195 per litre, but was disappointed to discover that the station was under lock and key. He also claimed that the Rainoil station at Ibafo did not sell the product and he only succeeded in filling his vehicle’s tank before the Sagamu interchange for N340 per litre.
A desperate motorist, Nnamdi Goodman, claimed to have bought 10 litres for N7,000 on Airport Road in Lagos on Saturday.
“The situation is very serious now. I bought 10 litres of petrol from a black marketer on the Airport Road in Lagos on Saturday morning. That’s N700 per litre! I don’t think I can keep going like this, otherwise I will spend all my salary and savings on fuel alone,” he lamented.
In the Federal Capital Territory, many filling stations belonging to independent marketers were shut on Saturday due to lack of products to dispense, while the few ones that sold petrol dispensed it above N195/litre.
At the Khalif Civic Oil & Investment Limited filling station located in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja, petrol was dispensed at N300/litre, while many others in obscure locations in the capital city sold above N300.
However, the few outlets of the major oil marketers and the NNPCL that sold petrol on Saturday dispensed it at the approved N195/litre pump price. But many mega stations were not open for business due to lack of products to sell.
Eterna, Gegu Oil, Sunset Energy and MRS, among others, located on the Kubwa-Zuba Expressway, were not selling the product.
Also, Major Oil filling station on Airport Road, and the NNPC filling station on Arab Road, Kubwa, did not dispense the product as they were all shut.
However, the queues in the few outlets such as Salbas around Zuba, and Conoil in the Central Business District were not too long as the preceding day due to the fact that most residents stayed indoors for the weekend.
“It is impossible for the authorities to enforce price now; our people are making extra effort to ensure that we have the product to buy even if it is expensive.”
Anyaso said in addition to the hardship the people were facing as a result of scarcity and high prices, thousands of workers stood to lose their jobs if the problems persisted as no marketer would continue to pay workers when they were not in business.