National President, Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Salimon Akanni Oladiti, who said this while speaking with journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State, said fuel marketers are not hoarding the product.
According to him, the quantity of fuel NNPC is importing into the country is not sufficient.
“We are not conniving with anybody to make Nigerians suffer for fuel. For some time now, we have not been able to load at NNPC depot in Apata, Ibadan and there is no hope of loading in some other NNPC depots in the South West. “Government is responsible for this problem, because if they bring enough fuel into the country, we as distributors we are ready to sell.
“It is so sad that we are one of the largest producers of oil but we are still suffering. The PTD boss stated further that presently, 75 per cent of the fuel been consumed in the country now is imported by NNPC, while the remaining 25 per cent is by major marketers.
“You cannot say because you want to manage your resources you will continue to suffer, what the government is trying to tackle still exist, corruption is still in the oil industry. There is corruption, bribery at all the oil depots before you can load your truck,” he added.
Oladiti said government needs to find lasting solution to incessant fuel scarcity in the country without further delay, stressing that the common man is suffering. He also urged government to embark on aggressive rehabilitation of roads and railway networks, insisting that many accidents are caused by bad roads, especially for tankers.
Speaking on the challenges facing his members, he said: “If not because we believe in this government, we just want to wait and see what they can do.Tanker drivers across the country are suffering. Look at Ilorin-Oloru- Jebba road, a distance of less than 60 kilometres, it takes a tanker between five to seven days, to get to their destination, it is a big pity.”
Already, fuel queues have emerged in Lagos and its environs as a result of the inadequate supply. The queues started manifesting Friday, last week. Investigations showed that many marketers did not have the product over the weekend, a development they attributed to inadequate supply.
Although NNPC has the capacity to import the 78 per cent of fuel allocated to it by Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA in the first quarter of 2016, it does not have the logistics and storage backups to ensure the product gets to users. Investigations showed that most of the depots, especially in the South West were in very bad states, which affect storage and distribution. It was also gathered that the depots were also crippled by frequent vandalism of pipelines and other facilities.
Our correspondent learnt that oil marketers who were allocated only 22 per cent in the first quarter fuel allocation have very limited impact on the market. Managing director of one of the companies, who preferred not to be named said: “We have the facilities to store and distribute commercial stocks of imported fuel but we cannot import beyond our allocation. “We have completed our importation for the first quarter of 2016. If we have more allocation, we can import. But we are not importing at the moment.” He maintained that it is mainly the NNPC that is involved in fuel importation for now.
Meanwhile, NNPC, Sunday, said it has taken delivery of four more cargoes of fuel over the weekend to keep the country wet. The deliveries, which amount to about 180 million litres is part of a new arrangement by the corporation to have a cargo of PMS delivered daily as from March.
The corporation, which made the announcement in a statement made available in Abuja yesterday, assured of sufficient supply of fuel across the country.
The statement also quoted Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, as warning depot owners against selling petrol above the approved ex-depot price of N77 per litre. The warning comes against the background of repeated complaints by marketers of sharp practices at the depots. The statement quoted the minister as warning that depot owners found to be involved in selling products above the approved ex-depot prices would be severely sanctioned.
PPPRA had indicated in a statement that in pursuance of its mandate of regulating the supply and distribution of petroleum products, it has released the Q1 2016 import allocation for the supply of about 3 million metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.
It had maintained that in allocating the Q1 2016 import quota to the NNPC and other marketers, it took into consideration, retail outlets ownership, marketers’ performance of previous quarterly allocation, as well as the challenges in sourcing foreign exchange.
The agency had maintained that this measure is to guarantee uninterrupted fuel supply nationwide. It disclosed that consequently, NNPC was granted 78 per cent of the total allocated volume for the quarter, while the balance of 22 per cent was to be supplied by other oil marketing companies.