Energy journalists under the auspices of the National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC), have called for concerted efforts by the federal government and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to end the disproportionate distribution and arbitrary pricing of petrol in the country.
The group has expressed concerns about the lingering fuel scarcity and has called on all relevant government agencies in the downstream sector to collaborate in arresting the prevailing chaos in the fuel market.
In a statement, the body of energy editors in Nigeria, lamented that, the development has brought untold hardship to Nigerians and man-hour loss which ought to have been put into productive ventures but wasted at filling stations.
While long queues persisted at stations now selling at N185 per litre in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, other marketers are taking advantage of the situation, causing serious hardship to Nigerians and dislocation to the market through hoarding and profiteering.
Black marketers have not only returned, but they have also been smiling to the banks at the detriment of helpless and hapless Nigerians, the group observed.
NAEC noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited(NNPCL) stations and marketers, both independent and majors have hiked pump prices of petrol, for the second time in less than sixty days with the lowest price for the product now selling N185 per litre from N175 per litre sold two months ago. The low-price band for the product, before this, was N165 per litre.
“Most independent petroleum marketers’ retail outlets have adjusted their pump price to N290 to N300 per liter in tune with current market reality,” it said.
The development, according to the association, portends grave implications for the already weakened purchasing power and income of the average Nigerian.
“Already, the high cost of petrol is impacting the daily cost of living as seen in transportation costs, energy costs as many homes continue to rely on alternative sources of power due to the poor supply from the grid as well as in high cost of goods and services.
“The traffic situation across the metropolis is also worsening as a result of prolonged fuel queues, causing high loss of man hours that could have been deployed to productive activities.
“Though marketers have attributed the present petrol queues across the country to exceptionally high demand and bottlenecks in the fuel distribution chain, it is however clear that the distribution value-chain is broken and worsened by a weak regulatory system.” the statement noted.
The association added that, marketers, independent and majors, should also look inwards to fish out bad eggs among them, adding that, their comments, action, and inactions should be guided by patriotism and humanity.
NAEC, however, commended NMDPRA on its efforts and urged the authority to do more in ensuring stability in the market through proper pricing, adding that, “this is a litmus test for NMDPRA post-PIB, and the agency should be reminded that NAEC, Nigerians, and, of course, the world are watching how it is fairing in this and other responsibilities.”