By Oge Obi
The different strategies and efforts so far adopted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to tackle fuel supply situation and the attendant scarcity that marred the last year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations in Nigeria have shown not being potent enough in arresting the ugly situation. Orient Energy Review’s checks have revealed that the petrol scarcity may worsen as the petrol price hits N165 per litre at the depots, against the official price of N133.28.
It was gathered that the petrol in these depots belong to the NNPC under throughput arrangement with these depot owners. And that as part of the measures by the Corporation to tackle the problem of diversion of trucks it allocated to marketers, it resorted to direct sales to trucks under throughput arrangement so as to monitor distribution.
OER, however, gathered that even with the throughput arrangement, marketers that bought NNPC tickets direct from the Corporation to lift the products were selling the tickets to third party within the price range of N165 and N157 per litre.
A market survey conducted by THISDAY had shown that only seven out of over 30 depots had stock of petrol at the weekend. The depots include Folawiyo, Fatgbems, Aiteo, Bovas, Heyden, Rainoil/First Royal and NIPCO.
However, the major marketers had stock of NNPC’s petrol, which the corporation was dispensing to only the major marketers’ dealers and their branded filling stations at official price.
According to a marketer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, blamed the high depot price on inadequate supply of the product.
“We said it that NNPC can’t do it alone. NNPC can’t sustain supply, no matter, the number of ships they bring in. Under normal situation, NNPC accounts for 40 per cent of importation and the private marketers account for 60 per cent. For NNPC to assume 100 per cent role since October last year will not be sustainable. It has overstretched the NNPC and the result was what we saw during Christmas and what we are still seeing today. NNPC can’t simply sustain supply,” the marketer said.
It would be be recalled that for NNPC to have affective control of supply and distribution so as to ensure that the petrol it imported and allocated to marketers got to retail outlets and motorists at official price, stopped product allocation to marketers and resorted to throughput arrangement with selected marketing firms. This was also following the refusal of the private marketers to import on account of unsustainability of the official pricing regime.
Part of the NNPC’s efforts had resulted in the apprehension of eight trucks with a combined capacity of 469,000 litres of petrol in Mokwa, Niger State by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. The trucks were set on cross-border diversion to the Republic of Benin.