The solution to the lingering fuel crisis is for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stop supplying fuel to Depots and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) National President, Chief Chinedu Okoronkwo, has said.
He said the scarcity was caused by the decision of the marketers not to sell fuel to motorists, among other users, due to its high costs.
While many outlets that opened for business in Lagos, Sokoto and other states, are selling fuel above the official price of N145 per litre, others are not. This development has further compounded the sufferings of many Nigerians.
Okoronkwo said the government could help solve the fuel scarcity and its attendant problems of panic buying by ordering the NNPC to change its channel of distributing the product.
He urged the government to direct the NNPC to distribute fuel through its depots across the country, as against a situation in which the state-owned corporation is using private depot owners.
Okoronkwo said: ??The issue of supplying fuel to DAPMAN first by the National Oil Company (NOC) has done more harm than good.Through this, marketers who need the product most, are unable to get it for distribution to their outlets across the country. When I said that independent marketers need the product most, I?m talking in relation to numbers of marketers that are members of IPMAN. The number of outlets owned by members are more than the outlets belonging to Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
He added: ?If NNPC-owned deports are made to control the supply and distribution of fuel in the country, the issue of short-changing the marketers by giving the product to them, at a price that is not competitive, would not arise. Once marketers are getting a good profit margin, coupled with the fact that there is enough fuel in the country, the better for users and the downstream sub-sector of the petroleum industry.?
According to him, the claims by the NNPC?s Group Managing Directors, Dr Maikanti Baru, that the Corporation has over one billion litres of fuel in reserve for use during the Christmas and New Year, should not be disregarded.
Okoronkwo said NNPC is not only a regulator, but also the sole importer of fuel in Nigeria, stressing that the agency cannot lie about its operation.
It would be recalled that marketers are planning to embark on strike from next Monday. But it appear they have started the strike, as they are not selling fuel.