Mr Festus Osifo, President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has given a reason for the ongoing fuel scarcity across the country, particularly in Lagos and Abuja.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Osifo highlighted the issue of ‘bridging funds’ between the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and truck drivers who deliver the Premium Motor Spirits (PMS).
Osifo said, “The NMDPRA are the ones administering a bridging fund. At a particular time, they agreed with truck drivers that the bridging fund is going to be about N10 per litre depending on the destination you are going to all over the country.
“As at when they agreed, the cost of diesel was about N250, so it was fashionable and the N10 was a bit okay, but today, the cost of diesel is over N700. It has tripled. So, the expectation from the tanker drivers is that since the cost has gone up, instead of paying me N10.40kobo as the case may be, you’ve to multiply it by three.
“At the end of the day, that’s the first problem.”
“As of today, we’ve close to 2 billion litres of PMS, so the problem is not the stock,” Osifo said, explaining that while the stock is available, most of the truck drivers aren’t willing to move these products “because of the previous problem I just enumerated”.
“One of the issues again is that today, NNPC is the sole importer of PMS, so they import PMS into the country, and this PMS is brought to the high sea, so they rent some smaller vessels to bunker the PMS and take to the various tank farms or depots. So, if it is the NNPC depots and you’re loading from the NNPC depots, you’re going to pay about N148 as the ex-depot price. But some of the PMS are also stored in private depots and those private depots don’t sell to the retailers for 148; they add some premium to it, at the end the of the day, they sell between 152, 155, 160 and 162.
“So, if they sell at that amount, it’ll now be difficult for the retailer to go and sell at the same amount.”
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has stated that the operating environment has become hostile to their businesses, blaming it on fuel scarcity in Lagos and other parts of the country.