By Adewale Sanyaolu
EFFORTS by the Federal Government to ease the current fuel scarcity may have been sabotaged by some critical stakeholders within the petroleum products supply chain, a development that has further compounded the shortage of petroleum products, Daily Sun investigation has revealed.
The stakeholders, according to investigations, have become so powerful that they now constitute a clog in the wheel of progress while the relevant authorities that are meant to provide oversight functions to their activities have become helpless.
While Nigerians, including motorists, commuters and small business operators, are daily feeling the negative effect of fuel scarcity, the cabal are smiling to the banks to the detriment of these helpless citizens.
Those allegedly involved in this sharp practice include the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), depot owners, especially private ones used by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for throughput arrangement, and the NNPC-owned depots.
At the moment, the “cabal” involved in the alleged unpatriotic act has set aside the current PPPRA pricing template for petroleum products released on April 1, 2016, and in its place have been using the pricing template for quarter one of 2016.
For instance, the current PPPRA pricing template for ex-depot collection price is N76.000 but hardly can any marketer get the product at that price, as they are paying as high as N120 per litre aside the N500,000 bribe given to security agents to facilitate the entry of their trucks.
On the other hand, NPA, rather than use the current template of N0.15k per litre for its charges, is sticking to the quarter one template of N0.36k per litre of petrol.
All these costs, according to marketers, add up to the high cost of petrol which they said would eventually be passed on to the consumers, a major reason petrol cannot be bought at the government approved pump price of N86 and N86.50k respectively.
President, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Mr. Kassim Bitaya, at the weekend told Daily Sun that the current fuel scarcity being experienced across the country was caused by the PPPRA.
Bitaya regretted that the PPPRA failed to invite stakeholders before it drew the current second quarter pricing template.
“I expected that the PPPRA should have called a stakeholders meeting like they did in the past before rolling out pricing templates. But rather, what we discovered was that they just rolled out the template without carrying the stakeholders along,” he said.
He explained that the pricing template was calculated based on the official exchange rate of N197, adding that no marketer had access to foreign exchange to bring in products at that rate, a development that resulted in many marketers jettisoning the idea of importation.
He stated that the pricing template as presently designed was faulty because some components ought not to be there in the first place while some need to be reviewed either downward or upward.
But the Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), Mr. Olufemi Adewole, said in a recent interview: “We don’t know who they are, so please help us expose them.