Tankers on Queue
There are indications that the lingering scarcity of petrol may continue for a while owing to issues affecting the smooth supply of the product across the country.
THISDAY investigations Wednesday in Abuja revealed that irrespective of the assurance by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to improve the supply of petrol across the country, scarcity of the product, which is beginning to bite harder in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its environs, may continue for some reasons.
These reasons, which were revealed to THISDAY by a reliable source in NNPC, ranges from the rather inflexible position of the Federal Government towards sanitising the administration of the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) scheme otherwise known as the petrol subsidy scheme which has been overtly abused in the last financial year. The paper learnt that some Oil Marketing and Trading (OM&T) companies are so uncomfortable with this position of government and are kicking against it covertly.
The source disclosed that apart from government’s intention to sanitise the administration of petrol subsidy in the downstream sector of the industry and the subsequent strict subsidy verification and payment processes initiated by the Ministry of Finance, the NNPC, which has currently continued to solely import and supply petrol in the country’s also receiving very minimal support from these OM&Ts as they consider the corporations’ present responsibility inimical to their interests.
Accordingly, the NNPC’s capacity to sustain supply of petrol in the country has also been affected by the recent shutdown of system 2B; a major pipeline that evacuates between nine to eleven million litres of fuel from Lagos to Ibadan, Ilorin and the North.
The pipeline was seriously vandalised by oil thieves a couple of weeks ago and it is currently being repaired.
“The corporation issued a statement some days back on the issue but beyond that, there are other issues that may have contributed to this; the NNPC which solely imports and supplies petrol is receiving very minimal support from marketers who are also unhappy with what the Minister of Finance is doing.
They are apprehensive of these reforms and two, the Arepo pipeline vandalism has compounded issues such that perhaps, the scarcity may persist a little longer,” the source said.
Efforts to get the Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Femi Olawore, to comment on the development proved abortive, as calls and text messages to his phone got no response.
The same applied to calls and messages to the National President of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Aminu Abdulkadir.
MOMAN had a fortnight ago engaged the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in a meeting aimed at sanitising subsidy claims, verification and payments to marketers.
Both parties had after the meeting told reporters that petrol scarcity which was then building up will ease off within few days.