By Ejiofor Alike
Marketers of petroleum products who paid the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for supply of kerosene but could not get the product may seek for the refund of the payments, THISDAY has gathered.
THISDAY’s investigation revealed that about 78 marketers and depot owners paid the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC for supply of kerosene and petrol from imported vessels.
Apart from the marketers and depot owners who paid for direct supply from the PPMC vessels, it was also gathered that over 2,000 bulk buyers of the product have also paid for supply from the depots that have throughput arrangement with the PPMC.
According to some of the marketers who spoke to THISDAY at the weekend, some of these payments were made since 2015 but the marketers are yet to receive supply.
“We have two categories of people whose money has been trapped since last year. One group is the depot owners and other marketers who paid to load direct from the PPMC vessels. I paid over N900 million and PPMC has not refunded the money and has not supplied the product. The second category of the people buy in bulk from the depots that have throughput arrangement with the PPMC. Over 2,000 people paid,” one of the marketers explained on condition of anonymity.
Another marketer who spoke on the issue told THISDAY that about N35 billion was paid by the marketers for the supply of kerosene alone, while some people also paid for the supply of petrol.
“We had to depend on the NNPC for kerosene and to some extent, petrol because of the challenges of getting foreign exchange. The minister of petroleum tried his best to make dollar available through the international oil companies (IOCs) but the IOCs are no longer giving us at the official price. If you buy dollar above N285, you will not have any margin. That is why the companies relied on the PPMC. About N35 billion was paid by the marketers for kerosene but nobody has been refunded. Now, our banks have swooped on us,” he said.
THISDAY also gathered that the next kerosene consignment to be imported from PPMC was yet to arrive Lagos, a week after the vessel was supposed to have arrived.
The 10,000 metric tonne-capacity vessel will be shared by Honeywell, Aiteo and NIPCO Plc.
It was further learnt that over 2,000 people paid to buy the product in bulk while the vessel will contain only about 200 trucks.
While the next consignment is being awaited, the PPMC has since moved up the official price to N135 from N73 per litre.
However, the public who are the end users would not be losing much as the product had always sold above the N73 official price because of racketeering by officials of PPMC and the marketers.
In the massive scam, officials of PPMC allocated the product to marketers at ex-depot price of N73 per litre, while the marketers sold to the public at over N180 per litre.
But some independent marketers, who could not get allocation from the PPMC had alleged that some officials of PPMC collected bribe of N1 million on every truck of kerosene allocated to the marketers at N73 per litre.