The owners of private tank farms (depots) are setting the stage for further increase in pump price of petrol in the coming days as they hike ex-depot price, leading to filling stations selling fuel at betweeen N180- N200 per liter in some part of the country.
Most private depot owners recently raised the cost of petrol from the approved N142-N145/litre price to between N162-N170/litre, leading to filling stations transfering the increament to ultimate consumers.
Some filling stations owned by independent marketers has started dispensing petrol at N180/litre, above the approved and regulated pump price of N165/litre.
However, the NNPC, Nigeria’s sole importer of petrol, said it was not aware of the hike in price by private depot owners.
Also, the regulator of the sector, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has demanded independent marketers to make a formal complaint, while the oil dealers argued that they had already informed the agency.
The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria IPMAN), Ukadike Chinedu, told our correspondent that although the number of filling stations in Lagos and Abuja that sold petrol above the regulated rate were few, many outlets in other states currently dispense the product at N170-N180/litre.
“Petrol is being sold in private tank farms (depots) at N167 to N170/litre. In fact, a friend contacted me to say that some tank farm owners were selling at N180/litre in Port Harcourt.
“So I want to tell you that fuel will be available but it will be expensive in many more areas in the coming weeks if they (depot owners) continue like this.”
He explained that the non-supply of the products by the NNPC to the oil company’s inland depots had warranted the high cost of products at private tank farms.
“What is required is that the NNPC should supply these products to their inland depots to ensure that facilities such as Warri and Port Harcourt refineries and some depots have products so that marketers can take fuel at the approved N142-N145/litre price,” Ukadike said.
“The National President of IPMAN, Debo Ahmed, has directed that all marketers should run 24 hours service and he appealed to security agencies to provide adequate security.
“So that is what we need now and I also want to let you know that the price of petrol in some filling stations is above N165/litre as approved by the government. And this is because they are not getting the product at the approved NNPC price.”
When told that the commodity was still dispensed at the approved rate of N165/litre in parts of Abuja and Lagos, the IPMAN spokesperson replied, “If you watch closely, it is mainly the major marketers and some mega filling stations.
“And this is because these major marketers, who are far less in number than independent marketers, particularly in other states outside the two areas you mentioned, source their products from the NNPC.
“But independent marketers source their products mostly from private tank farm owners and a few from the NNPC. But right now these private tank farm owners sell at about N170/litre.”
On why the private depots were selling above the regulated price, Ukadike stated that this was what the government should address.
“And when an independent marketer locks his filling station, they will say there is a product but independent marketers are refusing to buy so as to cause scarcity by hoarding products” he stated.