The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has appealed to the federal government to pay its members an outstanding sum of N53.6billion owed them, to enable them continue importation of petrol.
But checks by LEADERSHIP revealed that although the ex-depot price of petrol, as approved in the template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) is N87.66 per litre, which is the amount marketers buy the product from the depots, most of them sell for N115, N118 and N121 which are above the approved pump price of N97 a litre as scarcity of the product lingers.
Findings by LEADERSHIP in Gombe showed that apart from the NNPC retail stations, which sell a litre of fuel at N97, most other stations sell the product above the approved price.
The manager of the NNPC Mega Station in Gombe, Mr Hope Aba, told our correspondent that the station dispenses all products at government-approved prices, with petrol selling at N97, while diesel and kerosene were sold for N155 and N50 respectively.
The situation in Lagos is compounded, as must marketers sell a litre of petrol at about N110 to consumers.
In Port Harcourt it was observed that while the NNPC stations sell petrol at N97 a litre, others sell at N120 and above.
But, some independent marketers of petroleum products in Port Harcourt told LEADERSHIP that they buy a litre of petrol at N95.50 from the NNPC refineries and privately owned tank farms in the state as against the approved N87.66, which is why they sell at N120.00 per litre.
A fuel pump attendant who gave him name as Sunny said, “We buy at N95.50 from the refinery and tank farms and are supposed to sell at the official pump price of N97.00 per litre, but due to the recent scarcity of products, we are forced to sell at N120.00 per litre.”
The situation was no different in Benin City, where long queues still characterised the NNPC mega stations, which are about the only place where the product can be gotten at N97 per litre, as most other marketers sell above the approved price.
In Kano, it was observed that the fuel scarcity situation was worsened by the fact that most NNPC mega stations were without supply of petrol, resulting in chaotic situations at the few where the product was available.
LEADERSHIP gathered that a particular mega station at Challawa junction had not had fuel supply from the NNPC depot for the past 30 days, a situation similar to that at other mega stations on the outskirts of Kano.
At the largest mega station in the state at the Western bypass roundabout, Hotoro area, where the product is also sold at N97 per litre, our correspondent observed a chaotic scene as customers paid no regard to the need for order in their bid to buy petrol.
But speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos yesterday, the executive secretary of MOMAN, Obafemi Olawore, pleaded with the federal government to pay marketers the outstanding subsidy claims, to avoid fuel scarcity.
He said, “As at April 1, we were still owed an outstanding of over N53.6billion by government on subsidy, which makes it extremely difficult for marketers to import products into the country.
“Most major and independent marketers who received Sovereign Debt Notes from Debt Management Office last time never had it translated to cash from banks. We appeal to the Ministry of Finance to approve payment of our subsidy claims, because this had made it difficult for some marketers to get loans from banks,’’ Olawore told NAN.
He also advised the PPPRA to start importation of the second quarter allocation of petroleum, to avoid a fuel supply crisis, adding that delay in allocation of importation might cause product scarcity in the country, if not managed carefully.
He alleged that the N41billion recently paid to marketers did not reflect total arrears owed marketers to date, while promising that the association would ensure total support for government in ensuring a robust petroleum distribution across the country, if the association’s plea was taken seriously.
Meanwhile, as part of measures to ensure the steady supply of fuel across the country and avoid scarcity of the product, the federal government has approved the early release of the second quarter (Q2) 2014 fuel import allocation.
The minister of petroleum resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, approved the allocation of a total volume of 1, 854, 314 metric tonnes (MT) of petrol as supplementary volumes for first quarter (Q1) 2014 and second quarter (Q2) 2014, June only delivery.
27 oil marketing companies with proven performance records were enlisted in respect of Q1 deliveries, while 40 marketers with good performance records were enlisted for Q2, June only deliveries.