28 January 2014

Nigeria: Fuel Scarcity Looms As Stocks Deplete

Lagos — Fuel scarcity may hit the nation, again, as stock of petroleum products continued to be depleted at the jetties and depots, marketers have warned yesterday.

Speaking in Lagos, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Obafemi Olawore, said that the nation may witness another round of fuel scarcity if nothing is done, urgently, to get the products to marketers in the country.

He said Apapa depot, with capacity to store over 60 per cent of the nation's fuel reserve, has only five days to continue dispensing the imported products stored there since last year.

He said stock of products in all the depots in the country would finish by middle of next month if nothing is done to replenish and allow them to provide the commodity to the marketers.

He said that two major oil marketers, which are members of MOMAN, have currently no stock of fuel and were unsure of getting the product from anywhere other than from the normal source.

MOMAN said that it is currently being owed the sum of N120 billion under the Federal Government's subsidy support fund.

It said N20 billion, out of the current debt, was incurred as a result of the instability of the foreign exchange in the country between third and fourth quarter of last year.

Other independent marketers in the country are also being owed lump sum of money during the period under review.

Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr.Obafemi Olawore, who spoke at a press conference in Lagos, yesterday, bemoaned the delay in the payment of subsidy, adding that the development has exposed his members to high interest fees from banks.

He said: "We ended 2013 on a very tall hope. We brought in products and were promised that payment would be made by the PPPRA. We continued bringing the products but we were told our payment is being processed and would soon be paid. Right now, we have not received any payment for third and fourth quarter importation of products into the country."

Besides, Olawore said, the situation was compounded by the fact that his members and other marketers in the country have not received products allocation from the Federal Government for the first quarter of this year.

He said: "We appeal to the Federal Government to urgently make products allocation to marketers in the country. The appeal is not only urgent but also founded on the fact that if stocks are not improved, marketers would be forced to rely solely on Petroleum Products Marketing Company(PPMC) and this will spell a major disaster for the country."

But a Ministry of Petroleum official confirmed to Daily Trust that the list of the first quarter allocation for 2014 was ready at the ministry and waiting for approval.

Olawore dismissed the allegation that his members sell Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) as aviation fuel, noting that the product could easily be detected if that was the case while the culprit would have been punished.

No official reaction from Ministry of Finance, when contacted by our reporter.

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