The current scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) across the country might worsen, pushing up pump price to N250 per litre, despite payment of over N4 trillion subsidy in the 2022 budget.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) – the sole importer of petrol – is reportedly without the product, as most of its stations, including the newly acquired Oando outlets, were empty yesterday.
Marketers adjusted their prices to N180 per litre against the official price of N165, with the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) telling The Guardian that ex-depot price has moved to N190 per litre and that an upward review is imminent.
While both NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NNPC) did not respond over the development, petrol stations in most northern states have already begun dispensing at N250 per litre.
Most marketers, who spoke to The Guardian, disclosed that the state oil firm has no products. At the NNPC fuel station around Ketampe in Abuja, only two pumps were dispensing. Motorists spent an average of four hours on queues. Others bought a litre at N500 from black marketers who sold in kegs.
In the Federal Capital Territory, some residents have begun spending the night in their cars at fuel stations, hopeful of the next day.
In Lokoja, Ajaokuta and the Anyigba area of Kogi State, the few stations that had fuel dispensed at N250 per litre. Most stations in Abuja were under lock. The few that dispensed, like Nipco at Jabi, NNPC at Ketampe and others, had long queues.
About three months ago, the Federal Government quietly approved increment in fuel prices, following claims by marketers that they could no longer sustain their operations by selling at the regulated price of N165 per litre.
Recall that the chairman of IPMAN (Western zone), Dele Tajudeen, last week, said there has been an increase in depot price from N148.7 per litre to N178.
A vice president of the association at the national level, Abubakar Shettima, also told The Guardian, yesterday, that the ex-depot price has moved to N190 per litre.
He disclosed that the N180 pump price would only apply to product that was stocked, stressing that the price would be adjusted to meet prevailing market realities.
In Abuja, a motorist, Ugbeda Ojogbane, said he spent about three hours on the queue before filling his tank at the NNPC station in Lugbe. “It is sad that we produce oil and have to go through this. The country is becoming difficult by the day,” he said.
Another, Sodiq, said he spent about four hours on the queue before buying petrol at Dutse Junction, along the Kubwa expressway in Abuja.
Some stakeholders alleged that NNPC is starving government-owned depots and keeping marketers from loading, while diverting products to some private depots.
The development is coming at a time ship owners, under the aegis of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), are threatening to embark on strike in the coming week over N90 million debt owed by NNPC for charter services rendered in the last eight months.