Marketers yesterday rejected the blame for the biting petrol shortage.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) claimed that despite getting forex at N305, marketers failed to import products. Besides they get products despite owing the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) almost N27 billion.
But the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) accused the NNPC of being the debtor.
In a statement by its Executive Secretary Olufemi Adewole, DAPPMA said: “We again reject any attempt to blame marketers for the shortfall in supply as it is not our making since NNPC has been the sole importer since October 2017.
“Marketers have continued to sacrifice to keep the country wet with fuel despite over N600billion debt owed our members and over N800billion owed marketers as a whole by the Federal Government.“
The association however assured Nigerians that no matter NNPC’s stance, it would take all steps to cooperate with it and its subsidiary PPMC to eliminate the fuel queues nationwide within the next few days.
The statement said the NNPC did not transact business with DAPPMA members on credit , adding that the association is not aware of the indebtedness of any of its members to the corporation.
“It is an indisputable fact that the DAPPMA members have paid for petrol supply (with bank funds) for over one month the value of which is in excess of N90billion, PPMC, NNPC had cargo to allocate to them. As such, how can we be held responsible for hoarding?”
The Senate yesterday summoned Minister of State for Petroleum Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, NNPC Group Managing Director Dr. Maikanti Baru and other stakeholders over the persistent fuel scarcity.
They are to appear before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) on January 4, 2018 for a “crucial meeting” with the committee to explain the reasons for the scarcity and discuss the way forward.
A statement by the office of the Senate President said Dr. Bukola Saraki, directed the committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to cut short its recess and immediately convene a meeting with industry stakeholders.
The statement quoted the chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Senator Kabiru Marafa, as saying that proceedings at the meeting would be transmitted live by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
The Senate, which is on Christmas and New Year break, is billed to resume Committee work for budget defence on January 9, and commence plenary on January 16.
However, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) assured Nigerians that the lingering scarcity would come to an end in the next few days.
DPR Director Mordecai Ladan , gave the assurance after a visit to some private depots in Lagos.
Ladan said: “Petroleum products are coming in gradually; in most of the depots visited, some are being discharged, while there is assurance that some will come in again within 48 hours.
“I think with all we have seen now in the depots visited, petrol should be available in all filling stations across the country in few days time.
“The scarcity of petrol will soon ease out in days to come.”
Ladan urged the depots to focus on the independent marketers’ filling stations, saying that they were most affected by scarcity of petrol.
He said most of the independent marketers who have filling stations in major locations had not received supply for weeks.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the DPR inspection team visited Folawiyo Energy Ltd., and NIPCO Tank Farm in Apapa.
At NIPCO, a vessel was discharging over 23 million litres of petrol as at the time DPR team reached the tank farm.
Mr Taofeek Lawal, the Head, Corporate Communications of NIPCO, said that about 300 petroleum tankers were waiting to load the product.
Lawal said that with 23 million litres of petrol, the company would load over 600 tankers in two days.
He said that NNPC had assured the company that another vessel carrying the product would arrive on Saturday.
Lawal assured the DPR team that the company would work tirelessly to ensure that scarcity of petrol was ease out in few days.
At Folawiyo Energy Ltd., Mr Dipo Makanjuola said that the depot had about six million litres of petrol and had been operating 24 hours to ensure that Nigerians get the product.
Makanjuola said that the product belonged to the NNPC and they were loading according to its directive.
The last time we received the product from NNPC was on Dec.23 and that is what we are loading; we hope to get another supply by Saturday.”