… Refute hoarding allegation
From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) has given reasons why the biting scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, has persisted for three weeks and yet defied all solutions deployed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other regulatory agencies of the oil sector.
The body, while refuting allegations of hoarding the product to arm twist the government to hike the pump price, also revealed that its members’ tanks nationwide were empty as the NNPC has not patronised them in the urgent efforts to warehouse and distribute imported petrol across the country.
The Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, who disclosed this yesterday, in a statement released in Abuja, insisted that the real reason for the crisis was that NNPC lacked the capacity to distribute fuel efficiently as a sole importer, because marketers own 80 per cent of the functional receptive facilities and retail outlets in the country.
He, thus, said those accusing the body of hoarding were wrong and have shown they have a scanty knowledge of what the true situation is.
“Hoarding of fuel is regarded as economic sabotage, and we assure Nigerians that our members are not involved in such illicit acts,” he stated.
“We understand the NNPC meets the fuel supply demand largely through the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) framework. However, due to the price challenges on the DSDP platform, some participants in the scheme failed to meet their supply quota of refined petroleum product, especially PMS, to the NNPC. This is the main reason for the scarcity.
“Our members’ depots are presently empty. However, if PPMC/NNPC can provide us with PMS, we’re ready to do 24-hour loading and trucking to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians until these fuel queues are totally eliminated.
“While we cannot confirm or dispute NNPC’s claim of having sufficient product stock, we can confirm that the product is not in our tanks and, as such, cannot be distributed.
“If products are offshore, then it cannot be considered to be available to Nigerians,” Adewole explained.
According to him, DAPPMA members, historically, imported about 65 per cent of the nation’s fuel consumption, but said the scenario changed due to severe challenges faced by marketers.
“As it stands today, NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol into the country since October this year for many reasons.
“Firstly, we run a fixed price regime of N145/litre without recourse to subsidy claims; however, we also do not have control over the price of crude oil in the international market. Current import price of petrol is N170/litre, NNPC absorbs the attendant subsidy on behalf of the Federal Government,” he said.
The DAPPMA boss also revealed that the international price of petrol went up during the hurricane katrina and has not dropped below $600 per metric ton.
“Exchange rate is N306/$1 for PMS imports and also interest rates our banks charge is above 25 per cent.
“NNPC imports and distributes through DAPPMAN, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN). Our members pay PPMC/NNPC in advance for petroleum products and fully paid up PMS orders that have neither been programmed nor loaded is in excess of 500,000 metric tons (about 800 million litres) as at today, and enough to meet the nation’s need for nine days at a daily estimated consumption rate of 35 million litres,” Adewole stated.