This, according to market sources, is the reason behind the high prices for which the product is selling at filling stations across the country.
Since the National Association of Road Transport Owners and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers’ arm of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers called off their strike, which was called to protest the debts owed their members by the petroleum product marketers, nearly all the filling stations have refused to sell petrol at the official pump price of N87 per litre.
The product is currently being sold for between N150 and N200 per litre.
The Chairman, NUPENG, Lagos Zone, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, confirmed to our correspondent in a telephone interview that loading of products from the depots had been intensive since the strike was called off.
This, however, has not led to the normalisation of the price at the depots.
Korodo described the flow of product at the depots as seamless, saying, “For us now, loading is done 24 hours of the day. We are also doing overnight loading to ensure more products get to Nigerians.”
A marketer, who belongs to the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, however, said the supply of petrol “is not much currently.”
According to him, tankers are being attended to on a first-come-first-serve basis owing to the excess demand situation, which currently characterises downstream operations.
Commenting on the high prices for which the product is being sold at the depots, the source said, “It will be difficult to regulate the market now because we have an abnormal situation. Fixing the N82 per litre price for petrol at the depots is not feasible now. It will take some time before it will be business as usual.”
Marketers of petroleum products said on Tuesday that the current petrol supply challenge would continue throughout the week.
They also confirmed that loading of petrol had resumed across board with members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and DAPPMA driving the exercise.
But they told our correspondent that because of the May 29 public holiday, the supply hitch was likely to prevail till next week because there would not be product loading on Friday and Saturday.
It was also gathered that Folawiyo, Capital Oil and Nipco were championing overnight loading of petrol at the Apapa depots.
Meanwhile, the leadership tussle rocking the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has aggravated the scarcity of refined petroleum products across the country, the National President of the body, Mr. Obasi Lawson, has said.
According to him, the association controls over 60 per cent of the retail outlets for refined petroleum products in the country, adding that the crisis had prevented most members of the group from having access to the products.
For about two weeks now, the country has witnessed severe scarcity of petroleum products, a development that has paralysed economic activities across the nation.
Lawson said during a meeting of stakeholders in Abuja on Wednesday that products meant for IPMAN members’ filling stations were diverted to the outlets of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria as a result of the lingering leadership crisis.
He said, “IPMAN is a major player in the downstream subsector of the oil and gas industry. We control over 60 per cent of the retail outlets across the country and we have over 10,000 members with over 30,000 petrol stations. What the masses suffered because of fuel scarcity was largely caused by the crisis in IPMAN.
“Before the crisis started in IPMAN, you will agree that there was no problem of fuel scarcity for about three years into the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“But the suffering started as a result of this crisis and this is because we control 60 per cent of the retail outlets. As a result of the crisis, we are not getting products as and when due; the products that were supposed to come to us were diverted to MOMAN and DAPMAN. And as of that time, most of our petrol stations were not selling.
“It is not that we are not getting the products, but we get them at exorbitant prices and we have to transport them ourselves. It wasn’t the fault of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, but it was because we were not united. They prefer giving products to MOMAN and DAPMAN that are united.”
Lawson, however, stated that the crisis had been resolved as a result due to the intervention of the Federal Government.