By Adewale Sanyaolu with agency reports
Reasons for the worsening fuel scarcity within Lagos and its environs has emerged, with the declaration by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) that only one storage tank out of nine installed at the Ejigbo depot was functional.
The Ejigbo depot is one of the 22 depots owned, managed and maintained by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The inability of the 22 depots to function at optimal capacity has been a source of worry to stakeholders in the downstream sector, especially members of IPMAN.
Chairman, Ejigbo Satellite Depot of IPMAN, Mr. Ayo Alanamu, however, appealed to NNPC to rehabilitate all the moribund storage facilities which make up the western zone, in order to enhance effective distribution of petroleum products and put an end to shortfall of products.
He said the only one out of nine storage tanks functioning in Ejigbo depot has further compounded the chaotic traffic situation within Apapa and its environs as long queues of tankers waiting to load product has made the axis impassable for Lagosians.
According to him, marketers hardly load 50 trucks from the depot due to the dilapidated state of the storage tanks there.
“We appeal to the Federal Government through the NNPC to revive all the damaged tanks so as to increase the fuel storage capacity to 200 trucks daily.
“Government should ensure effective repair of all the dilapidated storage facilities within the western zone to beef up storage and loading capacity to at least one million litres of petrol daily. This will address the frequent fuel challenges in the country,’’ he said.
The IPMAN boss said that if the depots had enough stocks, marketers would work 24 hours to ensure that the product gets to every part of the country.
Last month, IPMAN had threatened to withdraw its services across Lagos State and parts of Ogun State, due to irregular fuel supply at NNPC’s Ejigbo satellite depot.
It said over 900 filling stations will be shut down, which might lead to fuel crisis during the Christmas and New Year festivities.
IPMAN said it took the decision because its members had been running their fuel stations at a loss over the past eight months due to NNPC’s default in the bulk purchase agreement it signed with IPMAN to sell fuel to its members at N133.28k per litre.
According to IPMAN, a litre of fuel (PMS) was being sold to its members by Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), at N141, apart from running costs, bank charges and other expenses, which made it impossible for operators to sell a litre of fuel at controlled price of N145, rather, they sell at N146 per litre.
The association alleged that while the NNPC had refused to sell fuel to its members regularly, it is diverting the supplies to DAPPMA at a price of N117 per litre and DAPPMA in turn, is selling to IPMAN members at N141 per litre.