ABIA: Govt Partner Marketers To Make Fuel Available
With persistence fuel scarcity across the country, the situation in Abia state is different due to the availability of the petroleum products in the state, but not as they use to be under normal situation.
This implies that there is scarcity, but the effect is not as biting as it might or may be in some states.
As at 6 pm on Wednesday this week, Oando Filling Station along Aba road in Umuahia, the state capital sold fuel N87 per litre and there was no much queue there. It was the same situation at the Forte Oil station beside the Oando on Thursday morning.
In the commercial city of Aba, the situation is not different except that some filling stations are selling between N97 and N100 per liter. The development has not impacted significantly on cost of traveling or living.
The mass transit buses still charge N200 per passenger for Aba to Umuahia, while non-mass transit charges between N300 -N350 for small buses and N400 – N450 for cars.
In case of Diesel, the Oando station still sold at the regulated price of N140 per liter but did not have Kerosene. According to the Manager, Sir Vincent Chinweokwu, there are signs that diesel will soon be scarce unless importers import.
The nearest supply source in the state is the NNPC depot at Aba which although is functional, but do not have stock all the time, hence dealers do not depend solely on it for their supplies.
It would be noted that the NNPC Mega Stations in some parts of the state sell and have helped to cushion the scarcity effect.
Asked what was responsible for the seeming peculiar scenario in the state, the State Commissioner for Petroleum Resources and Solid Minerals Development, Chief Okwubunka Don Ubani told The Guardian yesterday that this is as a result of the robust agreement the state government had with the Independent Petroleum Products Marketers (IPMAN)
“This in effect is that IPMAN members should source the products from anywhere and sell same in the state, while the government gives them every assistance and support to do so. The government is impressed with their cooperation and has commended them their patriotism”.
Investigation reveals that there are some dealers who either due to the location of their stations do not sell their products easily, to them scarcity time becomes a kind of opportunity to sell out their stock, and to make up for the long time their stock were kept they sell above the regulated price.
According to one of them whose station is located at the outskirts of Umuahia, “we horde our stock since we know that before long, there will be scarcity.
“During scarcity buyers rush to buy from us and to recover cost of tying our money on the stock, we naturally as businessmen sell above what you call control price. The government said you could sell at your own price and leave who wants to buy to buy. We do not force anybody to buy. Sometime it took up to six months to sell out our stock. We are not in the urban centers”.
A university teacher Dr Kalu Umah has advised the incoming government to begin early to re-activate the refineries and issue licences to interested companies to establish refineries as a long-term solution to the products scarcity.
According to him, importation of the products should be open so that supply and demand would determine the price, pointing out that the present practice where few were licensed to import has placed them in a position to hold government ransom.