Petroleum Marketers Ration Products, Cheat Consumers
AS fuel scarcity lingers nationwide, investigations revealed that some petroleum marketers have been rationing products thereby forcing consumers to resort to black market or buying above pump price.
The Guardian’s visit to some filling stations in Lagos showed that they are still besieged by motorists as attendants engage only one or two pumps, shutting others from customers.
While the Pipeline Product Marketing Company (PPMC) claimed it has about 1.2 billion litters in stock, others such as the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO), Oando and Total, among others are also partially loading.
A top marketer at Apapa loading axis confirmed to The Guardian yesterday that most of the depots are rationing products because “the ticket is more than the products available”.
He added: “We are loading products but we don’t have enough products that could cover the demand at present although, we are expecting more cargoes soon.
A product haulage officer at Ejigbo depot of the NNPC, Yinusa Ajayi, also noted that products were being rationed at the depots while marketers engage in seriously lobbying for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.
However, filling station attendants have capitalised of the situation to make excessive profit through sharp practices. Many of them sell above the official pump price at about N100 – N110 per litre instead of N87 per litre approved by the goverment.
Others deliberately shut the station against consumers in the day and sell at exhorbitant rates at night.
Irked by this situation, officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources claimed they have swung into action monitoring activities at the stations and depots, although they are yet to make official statements on the situation.
The Managing Director of PPMC, Prince Haruna Momoh, said the available stock translates to 31 days sufficiency going by the 40 million daily consumption of the product in the country. Momoh further stated that 21 additional vessels laden with petroleum products are offshore Lagos waiting to berth.
He said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) has made adequate arrangements to ensure energy sufficiency in the country and reassured motorists that the noticeable queues at the filling stations would thin out in the days ahead.
Momoh noted that the NNPC has 21 days sufficiency of Automative Gas Oil (AGO) otherwise known as diesel, and 18 days sufficiency of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), otherwise known as kerosene. He announced that as part of efforts to ensure petroleum products sufficiency and distribution, the NNPC embarked on aggressive Reception Depots rehabilitation in 2011, adding: “As at today, 18 depots out of the 23 depots have been fully recovered with the exception of Makurdi, Yola and Maiduguri due to the activities of pipeline vandals”.
The PPMC boss disclosed that the corporation suffered petroleum products losses worth N40.8 billion through pipeline vandalism in 2014, stressing that no business could survive such a loss and still remain a going concern.
He noted that there was a marginal increase in pipeline vandalism stressing that in 2013, the corporation recorded 3517 vandalized points but in 2014 the figure increased to 3774.
He observed that as at today, 97 pipeline vandals are undergoing prosecution and regretted that since the cases started a few years ago, none of the accused persons have been convicted for economic sabotage.
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