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Tough Times Ahead As Petrol Hits N200/Litre

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The cost of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, has risen to as high as N200/litre at depots, which means that motorists should brace up to buy PMS above N200/litre at filling stations.

Fidel Info reports that  on Monday, PMS cost, which was about N178 to N185/litre recently, had been jerked up by private depot owners due to the drop in supply by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, among other operational concerns.

This came as both the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria told our correspondent that tankers were now spending more than one week on queues for petrol at depots.

This, they said, had led to empty filling stations nationwide, a development creating chaos among motorists at some of the few outlets dispensing petrol in Abuja, Nasarawa, Niger, and neighboring states on Monday.

The National Vice President, IPMAN, Abubakar Maigandi, confirmed the reduction in supply by NNPC and the hike in the ex-depot price of petrol at depots in Lagos and Warri, Delta State.

NNPC has remained the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years running. Other marketers halted petrol imports due to their inability to access foreign exchange without hassles.

“Firstly, due to that flooded road issue, the products at most filling stations became exhausted. Then, we noticed that there is not enough availability of products because most of our trucks are stuck in various depots,” Maigandi said.

He added, “This is because there is not enough supply of products from the NNPC. These are the challenges we have been facing. Your truck will go there and queue for more than one week.

“And you know that when a truck spends one week on a queue without loading, it will cause a serious issue in terms of availability. Again, because independent marketers rely on private depot owners to get products, when we go there to purchase, they sell at almost N200/litre to us.

“They now sell between N190 to N200/litre in Lagos and Warri depots. You can now imagine the cost at filling stations. People should definitely be ready to buy above N200/litre if this situation continues.”

On whether the NNPC was providing any explanation, Maigandi stated that the national oil firm now described itself as a player in the business following its transition to a limited liability company in July.

“Since their transition to a limited liability company, when we raise some of our concerns to them, they will tell us that they are just marketers like us,” he stated.

The IPMAN vice chairman said the situation had increased the sufferings of the masses and the oil marketers, stressing that the way out was not just to deregulate the downstream oil sector but to get Nigeria’s refineries working.

“Deregulation alone will not solve the problem because we don’t have the refined commodity in excess. And if they deregulate, the price of petrol may exceed N500/litre,” Maigandi stated.

He added, “This is because the dollar is now about N900 at the parallel market. So, if they deregulate, marketers will have to go to the parallel market to source dollars for petrol imports.

“So, if the dollar is N900 when you import PMS, you can only imagine the cost. Therefore, I’ll say the way forward is basically to put our refineries in order. That is the only major way. You cannot deregulate what you don’t have. If you do that, you will be causing a lot of hardship.”

The President, PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry, confirmed that his team had moved around the country and figured out that most depots had limited products to dispense.

“The reality is that there are no products,” he stated.

The oil marketers president added, “There are no products to lift in many states and once there are no products to lift, then you’ll have scarcity. So, the NNPC, being the only supplier, should act fast.”

Gillis-Harry also called for the prompt rehabilitation of Nigeria’s refineries, stressing that marketers had consistently asked the government to involve PETROAN in getting the refineries running.

“We have repeatedly stated that we cannot continue importing petrol. It is not sustainable and not healthy for the slim funds at our disposal. We must get our refineries working and marketers are ever willing to support the government in this,” he stated.

On his part, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Clement Isong, earlier stated that MOMAN had been calling for the deregulation of the downstream oil sector and the rehabilitation of refineries.

He said, “Of course, we want our refineries to come back on stream. It is important to make sure that people have fuel to buy at filling stations. This is why we keep saying, ‘deregulate and make life easier for everybody.’

“This is because it is not that simple to get petrol to customers on the street. It is difficult and people don’t know and may not appreciate this.”

Also speaking, the Secretary, Abuja-Suleja IPMAN, Mohammed Shuaibu, stated that the current challenges of poor distribution and supply shortage of petrol might lead to widespread queues for PMS during the festive period in December.

“Our worry as marketers is that the festive month is at hand and if nothing is done quickly to address the current concerns around supply, I am afraid that it would escalate during the festivities, because it has started,” he stated.

Shuaibu described the situation as very precarious, stressing that it was the government that could address it, through NNPC.

He said, “We are in a very precarious situation and we pray it does not escalate beyond this. But then the government has to wake up to its duties because as you know, none of the four refineries are productive. They are more or less obsolete.

“We also have 21 depots across the country, nine in the North and 12 in the South. But these depots, which are supposed to be storage facilities, are not productive because the pipelines that supply products to them are old or are vandalized.

“So, the only way to get petroleum products into Nigeria today is through imports. That is only done by NNPC and when it imports the product, it dumps it in private depots. Who now takes charge of the products?”

Shuaibu added, “But right now the private depots have raised the price of products. This is making everyone apprehensive. Those who have paid at the government-approved price would wake up to find out that they can no longer buy products.

“We also have a shortfall in supply. So, the government has to wake up and do the right thing, because they are the sole importer of the product. If the refineries were working, it wouldn’t be like this.”

The IPMAN official further said the supply chain was poor, adding that the floods posed a challenge recently because roads were covered with water between Lokoja and Abuja.

He, however, stated that the water had receded “and still we have scarcity.”

Shuaibu said, “As it is now, all the Northern parts of Nigeria have been affected and the depots that are supposed to be the storage facilities do not have products. Everybody now relies on going down South to bring in products.

“And when you go there, you are not even sure of getting it. Some trucks spend weeks on roads before they arrive at their destinations due to the bad road network in Nigeria.”

He said a lot of retail outlets owned by independent marketers had been shut due to a lack of products to sell, giving rise to the activities of black marketers of petrol.

“Many petrol stations have been closed. These outlets were built to sell petroleum products, but when you don’t have the product, what do you do? This is why you see black marketers selling petrol in jerry cans everywhere,” Shuaibu stated.

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Metro

Police Arrests Suspects And Recover Weapons After Rampage In Osun

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The Osun State Police Command on Monday disclosed that it has arrested ten persons in connection with the disruption of law and order in Osogbo while trying to take control of motor parks.

Fidel Info reports that Hoodlums, earlier in the day, were on a rampage across Osogbo, Osun state capital shooting sporadically into the air and attacking members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, across major parks in the town.

However, the police, in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, SP Yemisi Opalola, said the security outfit arrested ten suspects and recovered various weapons.

The statement reads partly, “This is to inform the general public that the Osun State Police Command is aware and frowns at the crises that erupted within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state.”

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Faleye Olaleye, swiftly charged the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, and Tactical Commanders to ensure the situation is brought under control and arrest culprits.”

“Consequently, the Police operatives tactical operation led to the arrest of Ten (10) Suspects and recovery of One (1) Barretta pistol, Two (2) Pump Action, Two (2) Barrel guns, Nine (9) live and Four (4) expended cartridges, Five (5) cutlasses and charms.”

“The Commissioner of Police wishes to assure the general public that the Police Command is fully on top of the situation as Mobile/Conventional/Tactical/Patrol teams have been deployed to curtail the crises and advice members of the public to go about their lawful businesses/work without fear of insecurity or attacks.”

“He, therefore, sternly warned that anyone found culpable in these unwarranted violence/attacks will face the full wrath of the law.”

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Governance

Nigeria Has Enough Food To Feed All Residents – FG

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The nation has enough food to feed every resident, according to Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Fidel Info reports that this was disclosed by Abubakar during his presentation at the fifth meeting of the “PMB Administration Scorecard 2015-2023 Series,” which took place on Monday at Radio House in Abuja.

The Minister attributed the country’s soaring food prices to both inflation and the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak, which led many nations, including Nigeria, to halt vital economic activity for months.

According to him, the ministry is building 10 large-scale integrated rice mills with a daily capacity of 320 metric tonnes in Jigawa, Kano, Adamawa, Niger, Kaduna, Gombe, Ekiti, Ogun, Bayelsa, and the Federal Capital Territory, in addition to assisting in the production and distribution of breeder, foundation, and certified rice seeds for farmers, all of which are intended to increase the nation’s food supply.

He added that the number of fertilizer factories has expanded from eight to 200 as a result of the presidential fertilizer initiative, which was started in 2016 and increased production from 300,000 metric tonnes to seven million metric tonnes.

He said, “We have enough food to take care of Nigerians. We are producing food across the country and we will continue to do so to feed Nigerians in line with our mandate and expedite the transformation of the rural communities of Nigeria.

“As it is today, many parts of the world, including our own country are yet to fully recover from the negative effects of the pandemic, which has triggered inflation and high food costs across the world.”

“The fact that some categories of food are imported by Nigeria is not an indication that we have food shortages. The high cost of food that we experience in the country is a result of rising inflation, which is not peculiar to Nigeria but due to the Covid-19 pandemic that forced many sectors of economic production to be shut down for many months.”

He also noted that the ministry was also constructing two 2000 metric tonnes specialized warehouses for the storage of food commodities at federal government-retained silo complexes in Irrua, Edo State and Ilesha, Osun State.

He said, “In a bid to ensure that the country had enough food to eat, the ministry has procured 79,277.30 metric tonnes of food commodities between 2020 and 2021 to replenish the national strategic reserve that was depleted by Covid-19 release and relief to the Poultry Association of Nigeria in 2021.”

Despite his assurance that the federal government has started taking action to eliminate such confrontations, Abubakar stated that he was unsure whether pastoralists purposely let loose their animals.

He said, “One of the measures to checkmate herders’/farmers’ conflicts is the introduction of the National Livestock Development Programme and the proposal to have ranching and grazing reserves across the country.”

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Governance

Adeleke Clashes With Osun Assembly On Renaming State

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On Monday, the Osun State House of Assembly disapproved of Senator Ademola Adeleke’s move to change the name of the state from “State of Osun” to “Osun State,” who had just been sworn in as governor.

Fidel Info reports that the Assembly stated that no one can use force to change the state’s anthem, crest, or flag because they are enactments of laws that were approved on December 18, 2012.

Adeleke changed the state’s name from “State of Osun” to “Osun State” and its nickname from “The State of the Virtues” to “The State of the Living Spring” during his inauguration on Sunday, November 27, 2022.

Additionally, as of July 7, 2022, Adeleke revoked all appointments made by the outgoing governor, Adegboyega Oyetola.

Additionally, he mandated the freezing of all government bank accounts and stated that all decisions made by the Oyetola-led administration as of July 17 will be reviewed.

The House issued a press release on Monday, November 28, 2022, to refute the governor’s decision. It was written by Moshood Kunle Akande, the chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity. It read, “The State of Osun House of Assembly having reviewed the inaugural speech of the Governor and the activities of the inauguration hereby resolves as follows;

“The usage of the State Anthem, Crest, and Flag is an enactment of the law and as such, its usage is a matter of law and not choice.

“The enactment ‘State of Osun Anthem, Crest and Flag Law, 2012’ assented to on December 18, 2012, contained in Schedule 1, II, III, IV and V, which carefully details every component of this law is not in ambiguity.

“Schedule I is the State Anthem, Schedule II has to do with the State Crest, and Schedule III is the symbolic significance of the elements in the Flag.

“Lastly, while we are aware of a court judgment in effect recognizing ‘Osun State, the Assembly, pending the determination and exhaustion of all legal means would not be drawn into this matter.”

The lawmakers further said that the state will continue to be described as the “State of Osun”  and “Ipinle Omulabi” (State of the Virtuous).

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