Oil marketers insisted on Sunday that the supply of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, was still very low despite claims by the Federal Government that it had over one billion litres of PMS, enough to keep the country wet.
Dealers faulted the claim of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited on the availability of surplus PMS in-country.
The NMDPRA recently stated that the NNPC had “PMS sufficiency of over 1.6 billion litres as of January 26, 2023 both on land and marine,” as this was re-echoed last week by the national oil company.
But the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Debo Ahmed, told our correspondent that the scarcity had failed to abate in many parts of Nigeria because of the very low supply of petrol by NNPC.
“The government, through its NNPC, should make sure that petroleum products are available. I won’t tell you a lie, the products are not available. It is not enough. I got a phone call from Calabar depot, where trucks are parked and they said there is no product,” he stated.
“They initially said there was product, but it has finished. Go to Pinnacle in Lagos you will see a lot of trucks, all of them waiting. The product is not there.”
When told that the NNPC announced last week that it had over one billion litres of petrol both on land and marine, Ahmed replied, “They don’t have it please. Since how many days have they been telling you that they have 1.6 billion litres, is it not since December?
“If the products are there, why are they not releasing it? The product is not there; it is not available. If you say it is available, why then are you charging everybody to go to two or three depots in Lagos, Aiteo, MRS and Pinnacle?
“We have many other depots in Lagos, where you can put products and marketers will access it without hassle. You go to Calabar and you put product in just one depot and say everybody should go there and take it.
“You go to Port Harcourt, you also put in one depot and ask everyone to go there. By the time they go there about two or three times, everything is finished. They should upscale their planning.”
Ahmed stated that before now, NNPC used to distribute products through multiple depots across the country.
“Before they tell us to go to so many depots to take products. They should give us more depots to get products if they truly have the products.
“We have a lot of money in the system but there are no products. A lot of people have tickets and are waiting to get products but they can’t,” the IPMAN president stated.
Also speaking, the Deputy National President, IPMAN, Zarma Mustapha,said marketers had yet to feel an improvement in PMS supply.
He said, “We have not felt an improvement in supply yet, because if it has improved we must have seen it from the way our trucks load out products from the various coastal depots. There is supply, but the volume is not as much as it used to be.
“As regards the volume and the stock they (NNPC) have, I am not disputing it. I know they have enough stock on the mother vessels on the high sea, we have privileged information about this.
“But the challenges we are having centre around getting the products down to the coastal depots by the smaller vessels that take it from the mother vessels to coastal depots for appropriate distribution and trucking out.”
Last week, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC, Mele Kyari, insisted that the country was not dealing with a supply problem, stressing that the sole PMS importer had 831 million litres in marine cargo, loaded in shuttle vessels, as this was more than excess.
“Then in the various depots that we represent, including NNPC, we have up to 738 million litres of fuel that are documented on the platform of the regulator of the industry, which is the NMDPRA,” he stated.
Kyari added, “These data are collected every morning and validated every evening. Of course, for AGO (Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel), we have 24 days sufficiency in all the depots and we do not have an AGO problem.
“For ATK (Aviation Turbine Kerosene), I’m sure you haven’t heard much complaint from the aviation sector now because we have sufficient supply in-country by the private sector and some of them by NNPC. We have up to 45 days of supply in-country and so we don’t have a supply problem.”
He stated for the product volumes mentioned above, the oil company and regulator knew where they were.
Kyari said, “We know where the products are. For the 831 million litres, we know the vessels, whether they are mother vessels or shuttle vessels, we know where they are, even as we speak now. So it is not data that is in dispute.
“Every depot owner, including NNPC, submits the data of the volume of trucks that leaves any depot, as validated by our regulator. So every truck that leaves any depot is known to the authority, including the truck number, registration, driver, etc.
“And in most cases, we also know the destination fuel stations, once they are not leaving from a bridging depot. So there is data around these issues and they are specific.”
Kyari insisted that the company had enough products to keep the country wet, stressing that there was no need to complain about lack of products.
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