Oil marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have disagreed on the current scarcity of petroleum products which has caused long queues at filling stations in many parts of the country.
While the marketers speaking through their body, Jetty and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners said the scarcity might stretch into the middle of January, the NNPC said that it has repaired ruptured pipelines and that has restored supply across the country.
The Executive Secretary of JETFON, Mr Enoch Kenawa said even though the government had started paying fuel subsidy claims again to oil marketers, the process of fuel importation takes time.
“Fuel is not a commodity you can just go to the market and buy like that. It is an international business that requires foreign exchange and opening of letters of credit. The government is paying us our subsidy claims, and we are also opening letters of credit. With all this, hopefully, we should see an improvement in fuel supply by mid-January, and it would continue to improve as we move deeper into the year,” Kenawa said.
He also said that the country would not immediately feel the impact of the supplementary budget for fuel subsidy recently passed by the National Assembly due to the different processes involved in fuel importation.
“The requirements of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency on subsidy payment are stringent as they have strengthened their internal control measures, which is causing some delay for marketers in making subsidy claims,” Kenawa said.
There has been virtually a complete stop in the loading of petrol at private depots in Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun and Kwara States.
Even though the scarcity had commenced prior to the holiday season, assurances by the authorities had raised hopes of a respite.
The National Assembly had a fortnight ago passed a supplementary budget of N161bn in order to sustain the fuel subsidy regime in an attempt to prevent the scarcity of petrol during the Christmas holidays.
The spokesman of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited, Mr Nasir Imodagbe, said the scarcity in Lagos was as a result of a fire incident on the System 2B pipeline at Ije-Ododo, Ojo Local Government Area of the state.
However, a statement released on Sunday by the Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the NNPC, Mr Fidel Pepple said that the vandalized pipeline had been successfully released.
Pepple said that the pipeline was back to normalcy, and that pumping of premium motor spirit to depots and tank farms on the System 2B from Atlas Cove to Ilorin had resumed in earnest.