By Abimbola Fashakin, Lagos
Members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have raised an alarm over imminent scarcity of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol in the country.
Appraising the situation through Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Dankigari on Tuesday, the association stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which sold the product for N133 per liter at the depots, was no longer loading the petrol.
According to him, private depots around Calabar were already selling the product between N138 and N140 per litre.
He added that the marketers have decided to keep their trucks since the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) was already owing them over N200 billion for bridging the products.
If this trend continues, he said, there will be scarcity of petrol and kerosene in the next few days.
He revealed that as petrol was difficult to access, kerosene was not available anywhere in the country.
“If care is not taken there will be fuel (petrol) scarcity because private depots have started increasing their rates. They are selling the product at a higher rate now in Calabar.
“Secondly, the cost of diesel is getting too much it is about N250 to N270 per litre. You can see that the cost of diesel is high but it is equally available because it has been deregulated. In addition, the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) that is supposed to be paying the transport fare is not paying.
“So, the marketers have decided to keep their trucks. The amount that PEF is owing marketers is now over N200billion . If this trend continues there will be scarcity and the products (both PMS and Kerosene) will be very difficult to get. There is no kerosene at all.
“The major problem is that in Calabar side they are buying this product at exorbitant rate of N138 to N140 from the private depots. You know that what the NNPC said we should collect is N133 NNPC sells for N133 but they are not loading.”
Asked why members of his association were not importing the product, Dankigari noted that the foreign exchange rate is too high for them to afford.
He stressed that until the Federal Government deregulates the PMS and kerosene, its importation will not be attractive to marketers.