8 February 2018

Nigeria: Petrol Scarcity Lingers As NNPC, DPR Search for Solution

Kaduna — Insufficient supply of premium motor spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol has continued to compel many fuel stations in different part of the country to ration the product causing queue of vehicles at retail stations to soar.

A record of daily PMS truck out to Abuja and environs since January 1, 2017 showed that PMS supply to retail outlets have been fluctuating since the beginning of the year.

The data obtained by our reporter in Abuja showed that in the last one week, daily PMS truck out has average 101 trucks but up 140 trucks were supplied late January.

However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had in December said normal truck supply to Abuja was 70 daily claiming that additional trucks of petrol had since been deployed to Abuja.

This comes as the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Abuja Zone has commenced daily monitoring of all retail stations in the city to ensure products received are sold to the public.

Speaking after inspecting some filling stations in the federal capital on Tuesday, the DPR Zonal Operations Controller, Abuja, Mr. Abba Misau said he would personally lead the operation to monitor fuel stations on a daily basis.

"There should not be any reservation for any customer. Whatever the type of customer you have to sell the product to the public. We cannot accept that anymore and we will continue to monitor," he said.

Visits to some major, independent, NNPC leased and affiliate filling stations in major locations in the FCT particularly Kado, Utako, Jabi, Kuje, Lugbe, Central area and Wuse showed that while some stations dispensed the product others did not sell because of shortfall in supply.

At a Conoil station located in Kado District the manager of the outlet Henry Ode said the station received only one truck containing 33,000 litres PMS compared to about three trucks the station received in the past.

Already, black marketers have taken over the streets of Abuja and neighbouring states selling the product at over N300 per litre.

According to NNPC's spokesman Ndu Ughamadu, the two managers of Azman filling stations in Nyanya and Kuje, two suburbs of Abuja, were arrested after close monitoring by the team for diverting trucks of petrol meant for their stations to unknown destinations.

Ughamadu said in a statement that the marketers have been handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for prosecution.

"In addition to prosecution, the filling stations would pay a N250 fine for each litre of petrol diverted."

"The Task Force has also arrested six persons in the Central Business District, Abuja, for hawking petrol in jerry-cans. Three of the arrested persons - Samaila Umar, Atlahim Abdullahi and Bashir Sani - were charged and prosecuted at the Area Court, Gudu, where Justice Sidi Bello sentenced them to two-month imprisonment or a N2,000 fine which they promptly paid," he said.

Similarly, the DPR in Kaduna, has said that the persistent fuel scarcity being experienced in Kaduna State and other states is largely due to shortage in supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The zonal operations controller, Alhaji Isah Tafida while addressing the press yesterday at the Zonal office in Kaduna, said, Kaduna state receives an average of 30 trucks of PMS per day which is below the state sufficiency requirements of 70 trucks per day.

"Marketers who are also in the habit of hoarding fuel with the sole intention of selling at night and at exorbitant prices will have themselves to blame as the department will not hesitate to dispense such products to the public for free," he noted.

He disclosed that 18 companies have been sanctioned for fuel diversion, 30 companies who hoard fuel forced to open and sell, 50 companies selling above pump price penalised and made to pay fine while 80 other companies under dispensing fuel also sanctioned accordingly.

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