The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) confirmed yesterday that the outstanding N150bn owed them by the federal government is partly responsible for the ongoing fuel scarcity holding the nation’s economy to ransom.
The marketers said that non-payment of the debt as well the scarcity of foreign exchange was hampering the availability of products nationwide and this situation might linger as marketers are finding it difficult to import petroleum products and face the challenge of non-availability of petrol in depots.
“We have been told that the government included the outstanding debt in the 2016 budget. We are yet to see it as you and I know that the budget is yet to be passed,” a source said.
Whilst speaking to Vanguard, Chairman, Western Zone of IPMAN, Ahmed Debo, said “There is no product to load to the hinterland. Most marketers depend on Lagos and they could not get product; so, it’s very difficult getting petrol in Ilorin, Kogi, Osun, Ekiti, Ibadan and other areas.”
Going further, he added that “We hope government would expedite action on petrol importation to salvage the situation as most marketers have been thrown out of business. We could not load petrol in major depots in Lagos as it is only NIPCO and Folawiyo that have products, which is strictly for NNPC retail outlets,” he said.
Mr Debo urged the timely intervention of President Muhammadu Buahri on the importation challenges and fuel scarcity as the little improvement seen sometimes last week has worsened with longer queues at the few filling stations selling petrol.
“We are still having the fuel problem because there is no supply. Even with the little we are rationing, if you look at the queues very well, they have returned to what they used to be. And it is a very devastating situation now. “Most of the depots are not loading well. Even the products they promised that they will soon pump to the depots are not in sight now.”
According to Vangaurd, many depots are still attending to 2015 tickets causing filling stations in the Lagos metropolis not to have petrol and the few who have, selling at exorbitant rates between N120 and N200 per litre as opposed to the official rate of N86.50k.
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