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By NBF News
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Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), an arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been accused by bitumen marketers of sabotaging the sales and distribution of locally refined mineral resource.

Management of PPMC was also accused of encouraging the importation of bitumen to the detriment of its Nigerian products, which, they said, had made the imported bitumen to thrive in the Nigerian market. The concerned marketers under the Oil and Gas Suppliers Association (OGSA), an arm of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG) alleged before newsmen that the management of the Kaduna office of the PPMC deliberately refused to give them the bitumen even after paying for the allocation.

According to them, some importers of bitumen had petitioned the company complaining that after importing bitumen which they sold at about N145,000 per metric ton, the PPMC was selling its own bitumen for N75,000 per ton, putting them at a loss. Some of the marketers who spoke to newsmen on condition of anonymity said, 'we were given allocation for bitumen which we paid for. We were asked to come for loading. But after loading only three trucks, we were sent out on the excuse that they want to increase the price of the product.

'We also observe that for the past three years, they will only give us products during the rainy season when road constructions are not going on. But during the dry season, they will deny us products.'The top management is in link with some importers. We later heard that these importers wrote a petition that the government asked them to import bitumen when there was none in the country and that while they are selling their own for N145,000 per ton, the PPMC is selling its own for N75,000 per ton.'So, what they want is for the PPMC to stop selling its own until they have finished selling the imported one. We believe that this is an act of sabotage on government efforts at rehabilitating our roads and this explains why road construction is so expensive in the country today.

'At the moment, there is enough bitumen in the store at the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC). In fact, the present stock can fill over 1000 trucks. The refinery is not producing at the moment because there is no place to store the products. 'Most of us have our allocation papers which we have paid for. It has an expiring date and in most cases, they will refuse to renew it and for the past two months, they have refused to load our trucks.

'Even if they want to increase price, the normal thing has always been that a circular is released and before you leave the loading bay, you are made to pay the balance. But right now, the truth is that these importers want PPMC to stop selling so that they can exhaust their imported products.'