*May boycott the depots next week if situation persists
Members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Lagos, have pleaded with the Minister of Petroleum, President Muhammadu Buhari, management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and other relevant agencies of government to extend the fuel supply arrangement enjoyed by their colleagues (marketers) in the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) to enable them sell at N169 and N170 per litre to all alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.
Addressing journalists at the IPMAN House in Lagos yesterday, Chairman of IPMAN Lagos, Barr. Akin Akinrinade, said they feel bad and touched seeing their members selling petrol more than N170 per litre but unfortunately they cannot help themselves. According to him, their members currently buy from private depot owners at N220 per litre ex-depot and when other costs are factored in, the price shoots up.
Corroborating him, the Secretary IPMAN Lagos, Akeem Balogun explained that based on current Federal Government’s fuel subsidy policy, depot owners but petrol at ex-coastal price of N118 per litre and to sell to marketers at ex-depot price of N148.17 per litre. At these costs, each stratum of the marketing and distribution value chain makes profit as the margins have been factored due to subsidy by the government. Unfortunately, the private depots from where they buy the product sell at over N200 per litre despite getting the product from the same source and price, he added.
Akinrinade said: “The last six weeks or thereabout have been turbulent in the petroleum distribution sector of the Nigerian economy. The authorities in-charge, rather than positively address the situation and proffer solutions, have been full of excuses and no effort has been made at ameliorating the suffering of Nigerians. Nigerians have had to go through excruciating pain to fuel their vehicles because some people refuse to perform their duties as expected of them.
“We have been fed with issues around mother and daughter vessels and associated cost; the dwindling value of the Naira in the black market. However, in spite of this mother and daughter vessel story, a multi-price of Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) stares us in the face putting a question mark to the veracity of the claim. How do you explain the fact that Major Marketers and NNPC Retail outlets sell at N170/ltr and N169/ltr of petrol at their stations, respectively, (and still make profit). They get their supplies from the samemother vessels brought into the Nigerian waters by NNPC Limited. Do they not use daughter vessel? Why is it impossible for the private depots to sell to IPMAN members at regulated price since they get their supplies from the same source as major marketers? Nobody seems to be interrogating this obvious anomaly.
The authorities do not see IPMAN members as serious stakeholders in the petroleum distribution network, hence the neglect. We are the pawn on the chessboard of NNPC. The authorities should tell Nigerians, how it is possible for the major marketers to sell at a pump price N170/litre of petrol and the private depot (who are middlemen), sell to IPMAN members at N217/litre of petrol, ex-depot. It is NNPC that supply both of them (at same price). From what is playing out, the only ineluctable conclusion is that the private depot owners, in connivance with the authorities in charge of distribution of petrol are playing games with our collective destinies.
“The simple fact that petrol is being subsidized by the Federal Government, makes whoever has custody of it, to do in trust for Nigerians whose fund is being used to subsidize the product. They should not be allowed to profiteer. We call on Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to wake up and do the needful at the depots. We are in this dire position because the NNPC depots across the country are not working. These non-functional depots left IPMAN members orphaned since the beginning of the year 2022.”
The Lagos IPMAN Chairman, therefore, called on NNPC to intervene in their case and extend the same PMS supply arrangement for MOMAN to his members and see if they cannot perform even much more than the majors. He also noted that some of their members filling stations are affiliated to the the majors, adding that in crisis periods like Nigerians presently see, their Association sets up taskforce team to monitor members filling stations to ensure compliance with selling at regulated price.
He further noted that while arrangements were made for major marketers to load at their various depots and at times at the private depots, no such arrangement was made for IPMAN members despite controlling more than 80 per cent of the filling stations across Nigeria. Therefore, any distribution arrangement that excludes IPMAN members is bound to fail.
The only immediate solution to the current quagmire is to bring IPMAN back into distribution system. A throughput arrangement with some private depots to warehouse petrol for loading by IPMAN members at government regulated price.
“It is pertinent to let Nigerians know that IPMAN members are the first victims of this discriminating distribution system of NNPC and until this warped arrangement is corrected, the scarcity may persist. Our members have gotten to a point where they may boycott the depots, that until the NNPC thinks it fit to arrange depots for us to load at government approved price. The nation is hereby put on notice that consultation is ongoing to take a position, if the NNPC does not make an arrangement for us to load at government price within seven days,” Akinrinade added.