…Says NNPC owing marketers 800m litres PMS
…Blames crude swap contractors for shortage
…Marketers hoarding fuel- NNPC GMD insists
By Folake Ogunleye
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers (DAPPMA) said depots of members are currently empty and alleged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was owing members of the association payment made in advance for 800 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) capable of meeting the needs for 19 days at a daily estimated consumption of 35 million litres.
Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Mr. Olufemi Adewole said in a statement: “Our members’ depots are currently empty! However if PPMC/NNPC can provide us with PMS, we are ready to do 24-hour loading / truck-out to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians until these fuel queues are totally eliminated”. According to him, NNPC meets demand largely through its DSDP framework; however some participants in the Direct Sale of Crude Oil and Direct Purchase ( DSDP) of refined products scheme failed to meet their supply quota of PMS to NNPC due to price challenges on the DSDP platform. “This is the main reason for this scarcity,” he pointed out.
This is contrary to claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and its downstream subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) that fuel vessels are discharging the commodity in ports across the country daily.
The Group Managing Director NNPC Dr Maikanti Baru in response through whatsapp message to enquiry by Nigerian NewsDirect insisted that the real cause is the rumour that the pump prices would be increased. According to him, marketers hoarded whatever volumes they could get. “ We shall resolve it in a few days,” he assured.
DAPPMA in its statement claimed that members of the association imported about 65 percent of the nation’s total fuel consumption while MOMAN about 15 percent and PPMC/NNPC import the balance of 20 percent but due to the changes in the distribution it makes oil marketers faced some several challenges.
He said:”Sadly, some people have blamed marketers for hoarding products, unfortunately this is so far from the truth. Hoarding is regarded as economic sabotage and we assure all Nigerians that our members are not involved in such illicit acts”.
Adewole blamed the unending fuel crisis on the challenges in the Direct Sales Direct Purchase, DSDP, scheme, rising price of the commodity in the international market and the high interest rates charged by banks in the country.
He said, “We all know that we currently run a fixed price regime of N145 per litre for PMS without any recourse to subsidy claims, however, we also have no control on the international price of crude oil.
Adewole added that since Hurricane Katrina, the international price of PMS had not dropped below $600 per metric tonne, while the exchange rate used and the interest rate charged by banks are N306 to a dollar and 25 per cent respectively.
He noted that anytime the NNPC assumes the role of sole importer, there are issues of distribution, because it is marketers who own 80 per cent of the functional receptive facilities and retail outlets in Nigeria.
He disclosed that oil marketers remained committed to the progress of the nation and its citizenry, stating that therein lies its profitability and fulfilment.
He said, “We, petroleum products marketers do empathise with all Nigerians who are going through difficulties at this time, spending hours on fuel queues because of the current fuel scarcity due to no fault of yours.
“Sadly, some people have blamed marketers for hoarding fuel. Unfortunately, this is so far from the truth. Hoarding fuel is regarded as economic sabotage and we assure all Nigerians that our members are not involved in such illicit act, he added.
Investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect revealed that in a petition by a group known as NNPC Integrity Vanguard, one of the crude swap contractors supplied diesel instead of PMS. This, the group alleged was covered up by the management of PPMC.
The Integrity Vanguard therefore called for the probe of crude swap contractor by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The group also suggested that crude off takers that defaulted in the supply of crude should be blacklisted by the NNPC.
During investigation, one of the crude off takers claimed that some of the crude swap contractors defaulted but his company never defaulted. “If anything we stepped in to save the day, so please tell them to be clear as to those who defaulted because they can’t make a general statement,” he argued.