Fuel Scarcity Imminent, As NNPCL Asks Oil Marketers to Pay N6-N7billion To Lift fuel



… Court restrains NLC from going on strike tomorrow

The fact that the price of fuel or premium Motor Spirit has been jerked up astronomically may not guarantee steady supply of the product in the immediate future, Business Standards investigation has revealed

This is because marketers are requested by the NNPC to pay as much as between N6 to N7 billion before they can lift fuel or get supply from it. This amount according to industry sources is in addition to the payment already made before the increase in the price of Petrol. If this amount is paid, it then balances up the financial requirement from the marketers to complete the transactions and then supply fuel to the public.

Already, many marketers have exhausted the fuel they have in their depots and want to replenish them, but, with this development, some of them are having an uphill task in doing so as they are not able to raise the necessary money yet to pay NNPCL.

Some of the oil companies have already lost money to ship owners that have been paid but could not do trans-shipment on account of the marketer’s inability to make the necessary payment yet.

Banks are not ready to look at the sides of the marketers given their experience in the past with the energy sector.

The ex-depot price for fuel has more than tripled so also the financial demand for the product.

Another industry source told a truck laden with 33,000 metric ton of PMS or petrol now cost N21 million.

Some filling stations in Lagos were not selling fuels and their attendants could offer no explanation

Meanwhile, the National Industrial Court has hurt the move by the organized labour to go on strike by Tomorrow.

According to the court, the Organised Labour cannot embark on strike effective Wednesday because of the ongoing 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The court, on Monday, also issued an order restraining the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) from embarking on any form of strike.

Ruling on an exparte application filed before the court, Justice O.Y. Anuwe restrained the defendants (the TUC and the NLC) from embarking on the planned nationwide strike Wednesday pending the hearing and determination of the motion of notice dated June 5, 2023.

The judge also ordered that the defendants be immediately served with the originating processes, the motion on notice and the order of the court.

The Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation are applicant in the matter.

“The urgency enumerated in the affidavit of urgency and in counsel’s submission reveals a scenario that may gravely affect the larger society and indeed the well-being of the nation at large,” court document showed.

“Counsel has pointed that students of Secondary Schools nationwide, especially those writing WAEC exams will be affected; the tertiary institutions who have only just resumed after a long ASUU strike will also be affected, not leaving the health sector, amongst other sectors; and above all, the economy of the nation.

“In my view, this situation of  extreme urgency that will require the intervention of this court.”

According to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), this year’s WASSCE started on May 8 to end on June 23, 2023.

President Bola Tinubu during his inaugural speech on May 29 at the Eagle Square in Abuja announced the removal of subsidy payment on petrol. The President said that the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari did not make provisions for subsidy in the 2023 budget beyond June.

Many Nigerians had expected that the new price regime would come into effect by July 1 but almost immediately after the presidential pronouncement, queues resurfaced at filling stations across the country even as retail outlets hoard the product and increase prices.

Already, a litre of petrol is being sold at over N500 across the country following NNPC price adjustment and the presidential pronouncement on subsidy removal.

Fuel queues have since surged for the vital commodity, compounding the traffic situation in parts of the country, even as transportation cost skyrocket to more than 100% increment.

Discussions between the Organised Labour and the Federal Government had not been successful. The Labour had resolved to embark on a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday but was restrained by the court order of Monday, June 5, 2023.

There was however another meeting the labour union and the federal government all in attempts to avert the impending strike action the unions planned to embark

The Federal Government reconvened a meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for a continuation of the discussions on the removal of petroleum subsidies on Monday.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, and members of his national executives arrived at the Presidential Villa around 5 pm on Monday for the meeting.

The newly appointed Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila,  attended the meeting as well as the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari.

The meeting which came 48 hours ahead of the proposed nationwide strike by the NLC over the removal of subsidy is the second to hold in less than a week.

The leadership of the Trade Union Congress   TUC had one hour with the government committee and presented a list of demands before the government, the top of which is an increase in the minimum wage and a reversal to the old pump price while negotiations are ongoing.

The series of meetings came in the wake of a hike and shortage of fuel across the country following President Tinubu’s inauguration day declaration that subsidy on the product “is gone”.

Since then, the labour unions have urged the Federal Government to ensure a reversal to the old pump price of the product among other demands while NLC has issued an ultimatum to that effect.

The union said it would embark on a nationwide strike on Wednesday to press for their demands.

The government has since then moved in swiftly to avert the national shutdown and has been liaising with organised labour to reach a compromise.

Olusola Bello



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