Most filling stations across the country are currently rationing Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol as fuel marketers have shunned importation, LEADERSHIP can exclusively reveal.
Although the level of fuel consumption has drastically dropped in recent months following the hike in fuel pump price, which explains why the rationing is not creating heavy queues in filling stations, LEADERSHIP findings revealed light queues in petrol stations across some major cities, particularly, Lagos.
The light queues being experienced in some major cities of the country and in particular Lagos is expected to build up in coming days due to the rationing.
For over one week now most dispensing outlets in Lagos operate at low capacity selling for a few hours daily.
Initial excuse was that marketers were expecting upward price adjustment which the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, (NNPCL) earlier denied.
Another rumour claimed the federal government was contemplating return of partial subsidy to cushion the effect of rising price of petrol.
Again a highly reliable source had told our correspondent that although there has not been any official confirmation to that effect but the rumour is rife that the government is contemplating such.
He said the move is to arrest the escalating pump price of petrol which has taken a toll on the cost of living of the masses.
The source said the action is the only available option left for the government at the moment given that it has no control of crude oil in the international market which is the key determinant factor that translates into cost of refined products which is imported into the country.
A competent industry source however confirmed to our correspondent on phone that depots are apparently getting dry.
Our source said that the experience by motorists at filling stations is a confirmation of the situation on ground.
“The truth is that marketers are not importing. The landing cost is above ex-depot price at the moment and access to foreign exchange is challenging.” she said.
According to her, marketers have not resolved the issue of pricing with the NNPCL and the decision by the company stipulating the price at which marketers will sell negates the principle of deregulation and competition.
The source claimed though under deregulation prices wouldn’t continue to go up but the exchange rate and scarcity of forex remain unresolved the price of petrol will continue to go up.
LEADERSHIP recently reported that major petroleum products marketers and other independent traders which recently restarted importation of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, (Petrol) after the federal government removed petrol subsidy had contemplated declining further importation.
We were informed by industry sources that a rise in the exchange rate had made the business unprofitable.
Only last month the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, said oil marketers have started importing petrol into the nation.
Until now, the importation of the product was solely done by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL.
At a stakeholders’ engagement in Lagos, the chief executive officer of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed, said of the 56 oil marketing companies that applied for licences, 10 demonstrated commitment while three have imported fuel into the nation.
Ahmed listed the three companies currently importing the product to include, A.Y. Ashafa, Prudent and Emadeb, adding that others would import in the coming weeks.
He also expressed the commitment of the federal government towards the deregulation of the sector in line with the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA.
He said some challenges that previously affected the seamless importation of the product were being addressed.
Recently, the oil marketers urged the federal government to tackle insecurity and suspend the 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax, VAT on diesel as part of measures needed to impact operations in the downstream sector.
The oil markers also urged the government to put in place measures capable of addressing the rising cost of food items and transportation in the nation in order to impact the welfare of citizens affected by the recent deregulation of the sector.
The chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Olumide Adeosun, who applauded the government for inaugurating the committee on fiscal policy and tax reforms by President Bola Tinubu, said the measures are needed as citizens currently pass through very difficult times.
In a statement, MOMAN members confirmed the capacity of its members to import petrol into the country; especially since their licences are renewed on a quarterly basis.
He said: “The reality is that many of us have importation licences that have never lapsed. We renew them on a quarterly basis via the NMDPRA portal. Some of us are also importing diesel, so we need these licences.”