•As NNPC liberalises distribution chain

By Adewale Sanyaolu and Sola Ojo, Kaduna

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) may have bowed to pressure to liberalise the refined petrol distribution value chain channel to arrest  the nation’s unending fuel scarcity.

This was as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria assured Nigerians that the latest intervention by NNPC and other critical stakeholders will end fuel queues in two weeks time.

National Operations Controller of IPMAN, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, who disclosed this during a live interview on Arise News Morning Show, said the 14-member steering committee set up to address the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, was already yielding results.

Osatuyi said that at a meeting held on Tuesday, the NNPC committed to open up more depots to IPMAN where products would be sold to them at the official ex-depot price.

He added that the decision to sell products directly to IPMAN members at some selected private depots at the official ex-depot  were part of  strategies to eradicate profiteering and sharp practices among private depot owners.

‘‘I am happy to disclose that this intervention by the Presidency is beginning to yield result. At that meeting he said the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) committed to make the products available to IPMAN members at the official price,’’.

This, he said, has been the position of IPMAN long ago to NNPC to liberalise the petrol distribution chain by selling directly to IPMAN members.

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‘‘What NNPC just did now should have been done long ago. It was as a result of the failure of the NNPC to accede to the demands of IPMAN that led to this lingering fuel scarcity. But we are happy now that reasoning has prevailed,’’.

He however called on members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to allow this new intervention by NNPC and other stakeholders to work.

Osatutyi accused NUPENG of outrageous levies and charges that escalated the cost of petrol at the pumps.

He said NUPENG members charge as much as three naira per litre, in addition to other forms of levies which cannot be accounted for in the petrol pricing template.

‘‘NUPENG must be reasonable on the cost of transportation they are collecting and not only on its union dues. Everybody must drop all those nonsense we are doing and allow Nigerians benefit from the subsidy that Government is paying on petrol’’.

While acknowledging that there was still smuggling of petroleum products across the borders, the IPMAN coordinator called on NUPENG to talk to its members to desist from act of sabotage now inflicting pains on Nigerians.

‘‘It only takes someone with the fear of God not to be involved in smuggling bacause the profit margin is tempting. 

Imagine buying  product for N5 million and selling at N15 million. That is a profit margin of N10 million,’’.

On what the cost of petrol will be under the new arrangement, Osatuyi said it may not be less than N220 per litre because the ex-depot price will be in the region of N180 and when all other cost are added, it will land at the filling station at N210-N220, which he said, was still far better than buying at N500 per litre.