Fuel scarcity worsens in Lagos, environs

By The Citizen

Fuel scarcity has worsened in Lagos and its environs because of distribution challenges associated with getting the product from depots and jetties to filling stations. Investigations showed that although the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has commercial stocks of fuel, many filling stations did not have the product to sell to motorists and others users.

The distribution is crippled as a result of poor states of jetties, depots and vandalism of pipelines. Consequently, many fillings stations were shut while illegal operators were seen hawking fuel at different locations. The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA had allocated 78 per cent of its first quarter importation to NNPC while 22 per cent was allocated the oil marketers.

However, NNPC has assured of sufficient supply of premium motor spirit (petrol) as it has taken delivery of four more cargoes of the product over the weekend to keep the country wet. The deliveries which amount to about 180 million litres are part of a new arrangement by the corporation to have a cargo of PMS delivered daily as from March. The corporation, which made the announcement in a statement made available to journalists, stated that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has warned depot owners against selling petrol above the approved ex-depot price of N77 per litre.

The warning comes against the background of repeated complaints by marketers of sharp practices at the depots. Before then, The Group General Manager in the Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Mr. Ohi Alegbe had maintained in a statement that NNPC has deployed additional trucks of petrol to arrest the emerging fuel queues in some fuel stations in the Federal Capital Territory.

He indicated that the NNPC in a release explained that it has increased the fuel truck- out to Abuja and environs from the usual average of 160 trucks per day to 250 trucks (8.25 million litres) to arrest the lull experienced due to last weekend's State House of Assembly re-run election in Niger State which affected truck movement from the Suleja depot.

Alegbe had called on members of the public to refrain from all forms of hoarding, diversion and panic buying of petroleum products, the Corporation assured of availability of petrol to meet the demand of consumers in Abuja and beyond. 'Apart from the additional injection of volumes of petrol into the market, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC has stepped up monitoring across fuel stations to ensure strict compliance with laid down rules and regulations on the sales and distribution of petroleum products,'' he had added.

Also, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, had indicated in a statement that in pursuance of its mandate of regulating the supply and distribution of petroleum products, it has released the Q1 2016 import allocation for the supply of about 3 million metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS. It had maintained that in allocating the Q1 2016 import quota to the NNPC and other Marketers, the agency took into consideration retail outlets ownership, Marketers' performance of previous quarterly allocation, as well as the challenges in sourcing foreign exchange. National Mirror