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Marketers warn against imminent petrol scarcity

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) yesterday raised the alarm over the fear of a looming fuel scarcity.

Its National Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi, who spoke with The Nation in Abuja, said members who paid for the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) since last two weeks were yet to get the product.

He said: “We have paid the money and we cannot access the product. The way we have been buying products from them is above government stipulated rate of N133.28. We are buying it at the rate of N140 and N141, yet you cannot access it.  If the government does not take extra care, definitely we are expecting a serious scarcity.”

Reacting to the development, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it has imported  10 vessels laden with petrol currently offshore Lagos.

Its  Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in a text message yesterday, added that the oil firm  has over one billion litres  of petrol that it has spread across the various depots in the country.

He urged IPMAN to pay for the products to private depots only when they are sure of availability.

Ugahmadu said: “We have over one billion litres spread across many depots nationwide with 10 import vessels currently offshore Lagos laden with PMS.

“We advise marketers to patronise NNPC depots, pay for product to private depots only when they are sure such depots have stock to avoid being used to finance their procurements and report to DPR, depots  that sell above N133.28.”

Maigandi said an attempt to deregulate the petrol market will aggravate the situation, urging the government to fashion out a measure for managing the fuel market before it gets out of hand.

He said the NNPC depots that are selling the product at the official pump price of N133.28 per litre while the private depot owners have hiked their rates to between N40 and N41 per litre.