(News investigators) Indications have emerged that the fuel crisis currently enveloping the country might have been as a result of vessel owners’ refusal to discharge products due to what a stakeholder referred to as ‘financial challenges.’ Findings by New Telegraph revealed that although the nature of financial challenge was not clarified, several other factors have been attributed to the cause of the scarcity, leading to queues at filling stations, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
Among other things, marketers under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), while assuring that the problem would soon be settled, said it was caused by logistics challenge. According to a private depot owner, who spoke with New Telegraph on the condition of anonymity, the scarcity is due to shortfall in product allocation from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL). She also claimed that a large portion of product allocation was given to MOMAN members because it is believed that they have a large reach of retail outlets.
She alleged that they had some invoices before NNPCL that were still waiting for allocation. According to her, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) is still awaiting cargoes to get supplied, adding that the depot owners had sent many performance invoices to PPMC that were still waiting to be attended to. She said: “We have many invoices before NNPCL that have not been allocated. “Ex-depot price has been between N162 and N163 per litre for marketers within Lagos and its environs, while between N164 and 165 for marketers outside Lagos like Calabar, Port Harcourt, Owerri and so on.
“Some foreign vessels that came into the country refused to discharge, due to financial challenges. “The shortfall in the product can best be explained by NNPC and its agencies.” On his part, the Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr Clement Isong, told our correspondent that the queues witnessedin petrol stations in Lagos and some other states of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja was caused by supply logistics challenge.
He said they received products and had commenced distribution, adding that the queues as a result of the current scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol, would abate or stop within 24hours or 48hours. Isong said: “It is true that MOMAM members are fully integrated, meaning that they have their boats, they havededicatedtransport, and theyhaveusuallyover300,400 stations across the country.
“So whenever there is a problem in supply, it is normal that you will give products to people who have the access in place and the corporate governance in place and the discipline in place to get the products directly to the locations without diversion andtoservethecountry. That is normal. “There may have been some supply hiccups previously.
We have received products in MOMAM, it is true and we are trucking out. We expect queues in Lagos to disappear within the next 24 hours. “The scarcity was caused by supply logistics hiccup. NNPC is addressing it. Supply logistics is getting the product from the vessels to the shore. “Once the product gets to the shore then we are good to go, the same thing as getting producttoAbuja. Therainfall or flood made it difficult. So even when the products get to the depots or the coastline, the flood makes distribution challenging. “Thesupplylogisticschallenge has been resolved.
It has been resolved and we have received the products and we are trucking out. Within 24 or 48 hours, the queue will disappear.” Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer, of the Nigerian midstream and downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Engineer Farouk Ahmed, had assured that there was enough stock of petrol and urged Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of the product.
Ahmed said that he had confirmed from MOMAN and the NNPCL that they had sufficient stock. He said: “l spoke with the MOMAN’S Executive Secretary this morning and he told me they have sufficient stock. “I have directed them to start evacuating the product immediately to filling stations. “NNPC has also confirmed sufficiency and they have commenced evacuation. “From now till tomorrow the situation will be back to normal.