Stakeholders urge FG to deregulate downstream sector to ease petrol scarcity

Some stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have urged the Federal Government to deregulate downstream sector to save the country from frequent fuel scarcity embarrassment during the yuletide period.
They gave the advice in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday, in Lagos, against the backdrop of the lingering fuel scarcity in the country, with effects very undesirable, as it has caused an astronomical rise in the cost of goods and services, especially transportation to.
Chairman, South-West zone of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Debo Ahmed, said that the only way to ease the continuous fuel scarcity, experienced during December seasons, was to fully deregulate the sector to enable marketers to import and sell at a profitable price.
Ahmed claimed that government could no longer meet up with petrol allocation distribution to depots within the western zone, adding that most depots hardly received 10 trucks from government against 150 trucks.
According to him, deregulation would have been the best option to address the scarcity; it will ease government from continuous struggling to meet the country’s daily consumption during the yuletide period.
The IPMAN boss said that government should also ensure that the refineries worked at full capacity.
It is only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), he said, that is bringing products, because, currently, no marketers were importing petrol, because the landing cost is higher than selling price.
“If the sector is fully deregulated, many marketers will import petrol and sell at actual market price and also save government from paying subsidy.
“Before now, diesel used to be very scarce and challenging, but since it has been deregulated, every marketer brings it and sells at competitive price,’’ he said.
An ex-head of IPMAN, Mosinmi depot, Dele Tajudeen, said that petrol scarcity might linger for sometime in the country, if government failed to deregulate the sector to allow other marketers to import and sell at market prevailing price.
Tajudeen alleged that inability of marketers to import the product was behind the current scarcity, adding that no marketer could import petrol when the landing cost was higher than the selling cost.
According to him, inability of government to sustain pumping of petrol to all depots within the country was responsible for the long queues in Apapa and scarcity experienced the country.
“Out of five depots within the western zone, only three are loading at minimal capacity.
“Ibadan, Ejigbo and Mosinmi hardly load 50 trucks on daily basis.
“Before now, 200 trucks were being loaded but now hardly would each depot load five in a day,” he said.
Tajudeen urged the government to engage the marketers and other stakeholders in the sector in dialogue to ease the sufferings of motorists.
The Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), Olufemi Adewole, explained that the reason marketers were not importing was that the landing cost of petrol had increased to about N172.76 per litre.
According to him, ” if you add all the distribution costs, the pump price will stand at N182.17 kobo.
“But the government is saying we should sell at N145 without subsidy. That is why we have to depend on NNPC to sell to us.”

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