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FUEL SCARCITY: MARKETERS DARE DPR, ADJUST METERS UPWARDS

By NBF News
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Director, DPR, Mr. Osten Olorunsola
Oil marketers in the country have been flouting the directives of the Department of Petroleum Resources by tampering with pumps in their filling stations in order to hoodwink customers into believing that they are buying petrol at the official N97 per litre, whereas they are actually paying more.

Majority of the filling stations that were previously selling petrol above N97 per litre, our correspondent learnt, had devised a new method of operation - opening up for business in the evenings to beat DPR officials going around for undercover monitoring during daytime.

However, the President, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, South-West branch, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said most marketers were currently buying fuel above the ex-depot price of N87.90 per litre.

He said the product supply situation at the depots was not encouraging and that most marketers had no choice than to buy above the ex-depot price, with the intention of selling above N97 or dubiously altering their pumps.

The marketers had earlier said the current fuel scarcity being experienced in many parts of the country might linger for a while because the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was supplying the product to only six out of the 50 depots in Lagos.

They said fuel shortage in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and other states of the federation might get out of hand if the NNPC did not immediately involve other depots in the supply chain.

Korodo had also complained of congestion in Lagos because marketers from other states were now coming to the state for petrol.

He had said, 'I don't know why the NNPC cannot expand its supply. I believe the NNPC will exhaust the product it has if it tries this. If it is not ready to expand, then the problem will continue.

'Now, most marketers are not willing to buy products at all because if they buy at a higher price and sell above N97, the DPR will shut their stations. So, they are just relaxing.'

The Director, DPR, Mr. Osten Olorunsola, had also told our correspondent that the department was not resting on its oars as far as due monitoring of the downstream sub-sector was concerned.

He said the DPR monitoring team was on the lookout for marketers selling 0.6 litres for the price of one litre, as was the case in some areas, adding that Nigerians should support it when it performed its tasks as a regulator.

Our correspondent learnt that in some cases where the DPR had gone to seal filling stations selling above N97 per litre, people who had been queuing to buy petrol for a while opposed the action.