Following the Nigeria National Petroleum Commissions’ (NNPC) reduction of import volume, Lagos State and its environs may soon experience a major fuel scarcity.
Report showed that marketers have gradually begun close their stations to motorists and other buyers, after the NNPC cut the volume of its imports to enable major and independent marketers to participate in importation.
One of such marketers explained that the inability of the marketers to import their quantity contributed to the problem.
“The reduction in NNPC Limited’s import, aimed at enabling the marketers to embark on importation and the inability of the marketers to import have created a vacuum that needs to be addressed.
“The situation could have been very serious if many people are still buying the product. But the shortage is currently mild because many automobile owners are not driving frequently or have completely abandoned driving because of the high cost of petrol currently going for between N568 per litre and N590,” they stated.
The National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, had simply confirmed that they were still loading.
However, it is inclear if all the products lifted at the depots were delivered to the filling stations, as officials of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, were not visible to enforce compliance.
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Despite the challenges, the Chief Executive Officer, Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited, Patrick Ilo, said deregulation remained a good policy targeted at growing the downstream sector.
“President Bola Tinubu was conscious about deregulation. There are problems but problems are meant to be solved; we will surmount the problems and over time, they will be over. I can guarantee that there will be no fuel scarcity in Nigeria, with deregulation.”
In the same view, the founder of Petrocam Group, Shiraz Gany, said the deregulation policy had not created inefficiencies.
“Deregulation has been good for the country because, at least, there are no inefficiencies. You can pay for premium motor spirit, PMS, at market price. Government can now spend money on critical infrastructure to make the country more efficient for Nigerians,” he said.
In a June 2023 meeting, stakeholders had sought for the deregulation of the petroleum industry.
Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Prof. Innocent Ogwude, had said raised issues about the non-existence of fuel subsidy on freight cost, insurance, customs and other administrative costs, determining landing cost. He said fuel subsidy exists only in petroleum pricing policy.
He further suggested that the government discourage the Danglte refinery monopoly because increase in prices would be devastating. He also urged government to encourage modular refineries and deregulate the petroleum sector. This, according to him, would give room to competition from others.
He had pointed that of the government revives exciting redineries and encourages other refiners to go into fuel production, the price of petrol would reduce.
Ogwude further noted that the petroleum industry should be allowed to fix prices through the forces of demand and supply, suggesting a replacement of the NNPC management with a new team that understands fuel subsidy regime.
On his inauguration, President Bola Tinubu’s had announced the removal of fuel subsidy. The announcement resulted a panic buying while most fuel stations shut their gates to buyers. The announcement saw a major fuel scarcity across states of the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja.