Nigerians may have to prepare for a long period of horrifying petrol scarcity as the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) (fuel depot owners) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are currently bickering over a N21.7 billion debt and who should be blamed for the persisting crisis hurting Nigerians.
While the depot owners insist they do not have any petroleum products in their facilities supplied by the NNPC, the national oil company, on its part, said the DAPPMA was being economical with the truth as current records show appreciable supplies and that the association is indebted to it to tune of N26.7billion as at December 21.
The disagreement erupted in December 25 when, the DAPPMA through its Executive Secretary, Olufemi Adewole, accused the NNPC of starving its members’ facilities of products nationwide despite the fact that the Corporation lacks the capacity to solely import and distribute fuel efficiently as marketers own 80 per cent of the functional receptive facilities and retail outlets in the country.
The Association went ahead to refute claims that its members were responsible for hoarding and sabotaging government’s efforts in solving the scarcity nightmare when in actual sense their facilities were totally empty.
“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 us 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.
Reacting to DAPPMA’s claims, the NNPC via its Spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu said it was unfortunate that depot owners had the temerity to peddle such falsehood when the Corporation had continually flooded their tanks with sufficient products, especially petrol, in its efforts to solve the scarcity challenge.
“NNPC wishes to affirm that it has supplied appreciable volume to DAPPMA, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) to rid the challenges currently being experienced in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country.
“NNPC regrets that DAPPMA which members had taken receipts of products from Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC and owe the company to the tune of N26.7billion as at December 21, 2017, has the audacity to indict NNPC unjustifiably.
“The statement by DAPPMA that the current hiccups in the supply of products was due to the inability of the Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP) partners of NNPC to deliver on their business obligations is unfounded and self-indicting as many of DAPPMA members patronize the same DSDP international counterparts as the Corporation.
“Despite the concession by the government giving access to DAPPMA to obtain Forex at an official rate of N305 per dollar for PMS import, their members have not been able to do so, leaving NNPC as the sole supplier of PMS to the Nigerian market”, he added.
Ughamadu assured that despite the increase it effected in the supply of PMS in December, it has nonetheless, programmed to supply 1.2billion litres of the white products in January 2018, translating to about 40million litres of PMS supply per day.
“Ordinarily, Nigeria consumes about 700 trucks (about 27million – 30million) litres per day. Despite the current challenges, Nigerians are reassured that there is no plan to increase PMS pump price above N145/litre and that NNPC will continue to maintain ex–depot price of N133.28/litre which guarantees the pump price not exceeding the N145 per litre capped by the government.
“All stakeholders are implored to support the efforts of government to bring a speedy end to the current fuel distribution challenges being experienced in parts of the country as this is not the time to play the blame game”, he stated.
Meanwhile, motorists have described the DAPPMA-NNPC clash as highly unfortunate and counter-productive, since hapless Nigerians will bear the brunt.
A driver, Agwu Udo lamented: “This is like two elephants fighting and so the grass will suffer which in this case are the masses.
“Haven’t these people seen our suffering? Where is this world do motorists sleep in filling stations to buy petrol with their own money? It’s not like it’s free.
This is an oil producing country for crying out loud and see the suffering. Filling your tank at government approved price may take you over 48 hours under this scorching sun amid harassment from touts and policemen stationed at the sales outlets.
“When will this suffering end and now we hear depot owners and NNPC are bickering. These are two critical stakeholders in this oil enterprise. Do we take it that this problem is now endless”, he queried.
Another energy consumer, Stanley Onwumere groaned: “Come to NYSC side of Kubwa, we rarely see light there and the complex where my business is runs 90 per cent on generators. They consume petrol.
I can’t afford diesel generators yet. I’m a start-up entrepreneur doing photography and video coverage. I need power but there is none, so I use generators.
But with petrol scarcity or buying black market at N300/litre, how can I survive? When will this end? We’re almost in 2018. This is a disaster”, he said.