By Obas Esiedesa
Members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, have advised Nigerians to expect a higher petrol pump price in the coming days, saying price may rise to N195 per litre.
They lamented what they described as “inconsistencies” on the part of the Federal Government, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiary, the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) on deregulation policy.
NNPC had last week ruled out immediate price rise until a scheduled meeting between the Federal Government and labour unions at the end of the month.
But IPMAN members have revealed that petrol may sell between N190 and N195 soon.
They said despite NNPC assurance of product availability, independent marketers could not access the product from NNPC depots forcing them to rely on independent depot owners for supplies.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting in Abuja at the weekend, Chief Executive Officer of Kankada Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Danasabe Kakanda, accused the government of giving the private depot owners edge over independent marketers.
He explained that independent marketers were always left at the mercies of private depot owners from whom they rely for supplies even though they also own filling stations and compete with the marketers.
He said: “With the inconsistencies of government, Nigerians should expect the price of fuel to be between N190 to N195”.
Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer of Foste Nigeria Limited, Chief Austin Erhabor , urged the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva through NNPC to come out clear to explain to Nigerians whether they have deregulated the petroleum supply chain or not.
“It is time for them to separate politics from economics. Our business is dying. How can you be talking about deregulation and you are mentioning official pump price”, he queried.
Erhabor exonerated petroleum marketers in the ongoing uncertainty in the supply chain, saying the sector is suffering from confused government policies.
“These private depot owners were not supposed to own filling stations. They were supposed to be in the middle between NNPC and the independent marketers. Is it fair for somebody that I am buying from, my competitor, I buy from you, you come and build station close to me, and you are the one that is supplying me, how can I sell? Because if you want me to die off the business, all you need to do is to supply to the level you are selling to me in your depots”, he added.
The Foste Nigeria Limited boss accused private depot owners of systematically edging the independent marketers out of business by hoarding petroleum products to ensure that only their filling stations are loaded first.
“As we speak most of us have paid money to these depots without getting product. And before your eyes they are loading up their own trucks. These private depots are known”, he said.
On his part, former National Publicity Secretary of IPMAN, Dr. Emma Ihedigbo, also said the oil marketers are no longer happy about what government agencies are doing with petrol supply chain.
“What we are saying in effect is that, we are crying out that, PPMC want to strangulate IPMAN members and all the business men dealing on petroleum products and we are no longer happy about it. And if nothing is done, we will come out and tell the world what is going on”, he said.