By Francis Akinnodi,
Victor Akinkuolie &
Another fuel scarcity looms in the country as Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), said many depots have shut down operations after running out of stock of petroleum products.
The Hope gathered that many petrol stations across the state no longer have fuel to dispense to their customers.
According to sources in the oil sector, the development portends great danger for the country.
An official of IPMAN, Mr. Sina Amao blamed the situation on the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, which he said has increased from N651/litre to N720/litre in August this year.
Some petroleum products dealers also stated that filling stations are shutting down daily, as it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to run the business. They said this could lead to widespread fuel scarcity in coming months.
The dealers were of the opinion that the return of government to payment of subsidy is the only way to avert the impending scarcity of the product.
Amao said, “Depot owners are so terribly affected by the increasing cost and exchange rate, to the extent that many depots are practically deserted as their owners are unable to secure bank loans to fund their business due to high-interest rates.
“Banks are not willing to guarantee funds release to stakeholders as a result of the difficulty, instability and galloping rates of foreign exchange and high exchange rate of the dollar.
“The worst hit are filling stations whose owners find it extremely difficult to secure funds to procure products for their retail outlets. Both the independent and major marketers are so terribly affected.
“As of today, filling stations are shutting down in great numbers and dealers are going out of business, with many more on the verge of bankruptcy because of their inability to secure funds to facilitate orders for their stations.”
He urged government to urgently come to the aid of the industry as quickly as possible to save it from an impending collapse, which would result in a more devastating blow to the economy.
He noted that this may lead to increase in pump price of petrol which would have a negative effect on the people.
Also, a petroleum dealer, Fola Akinjagunla said as at today, petrol imported was N720/litre without subsidy.
“So, if the landing cost is N720, the pump price should be around N750/litre.
He blamed the price hike on foreign exchange rate, adding that the Federal Government was still subsidising petrol through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
Mr Ade Orijemilusi, a filling station owner at Ugbe Akoko described the situation as worrisome.
Orijemilusi who attributed the situation to the fluctuating high exchange rate, said it is increasingly becoming difficult for filling station owners like him to source for funds to import the product.
According to him, if the situation continued unchecked, the end result will be an acute scarcity of fuel.
He, however, called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of Nigerians by making funds available for importers.
In the same vein, a petrol station manager, Afeez Adedotun said the current landing cost of fuel is already taking its toll on filling stations, especially those that rely on bank loans.
Adedotun disclosed that his boss has not been able to stock his station with fuel in the last two weeks because of the high cost of doing business.
This he said is already affecting the workers as it is not certain where their salaries will come from and this may eventually lead to lay off of workers.
An Ado-Ekiti based Marketer, Alhaji Suleiman Akinbami, lamented over what he called huge amount of money spent to run the business.
Akinbami, who is also a former Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) Ekiti State chapter, said apart from the exorbitant amount of money spent on each tanker, the landing price from the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) is also higher.