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NNPCL blames logistics for fuel queues



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The queues for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called fuel, grew worse in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states on Thursday, as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) blamed the development on logistics issues but was quick to state that it had been resolved.

Fuel remained scarce on Thursday in the Federal Capital Territory and some other states in the North, forcing many filling stations to close shop, while the few ones that dispensed the commodity were greeted with heavy queues.

The cost of the product was increased to an average of N700/litre at stations run by independent marketers, though the very limited number of NNPC retail outlets that dispensed the commodity maintained the N617/litre price approved by the oil firm.

The marketers told our correspondent that the supply of PMS to Abuja through the Suleja Depot in Niger State had remained poor, stressing that fuel trucks were no longer coming to Suleja Depot and other depots in the North as before.

Recall that Chronicle NG reported on Thursday that many filling stations were closed in Abuja and about five other states on Wednesday as the scarcity of PMS caused heavy queues at the few outlets that dispensed the product.

The report stated that thousands of commuters in the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa, Niger, Gombe, Sokoto, and Anambra states were left stranded at various bus stops due to the scarcity of PMS required by transporters to run their vehicles.

This led to a hike in transport fares in the affected states as the few transporters who had fuel raised their rates.

The situation continued on Thursday, as the Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja Branch, Mohammed Shuaibu, told our correspondent that there was still a low supply of PMS to the capital city and its environs.

“There is low supply while the demand for PMS is high. Right now, only NNPC retail stations are selling at N617/litre in Abuja and other northern states. Every other station has arbitrary prices.

“The current reception at the Suleja Depot, which supplies Abuja and its environs, is very poor; the trucks are not coming, and we understand that there is a cutdown in supply from the depots in Warri and Lagos, where products normally come from.”

Asked whether the NNPC was not importing enough PMS to meet local demand, Shuabu replied, “This could be another reason because it is often when there is short supply that we witness this scarcity and attendant queues.

“However, the retail stations of NNPC are trying, because they are the only ones that have not changed their pump prices and have continued to make it uniform at N617/litre in the northern region.

“But outside that, all other marketers, whether major or independent dealers, have prices that are not uniform. Some dispense PMS at N700/litre, while others sell at higher rates. Maybe by next week, if the situation fails to improve, you will buy it at N800/litre.”

The IPMAN official urged the Federal Government to intervene by ensuring an increased supply of gasoline through the NNPC, stressing that many motorists were now getting involved in panic buying.

Reacting to the development., the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC, Olufemi Soneye, said the scarcity was due to issues around logistics, without giving further details.

He, however, stated that the issue had been resolved and urged motorists not to be involved in panic buying because the national oil company and sole importer of gasoline had enough products.

He said, “The NNPC Ltd. wishes to clarify that the tightness in the supply of Premium Motor Spirit currently being experienced in some areas across the country is a result of logistics issues and that they have been resolved.

“It also wishes to reiterate that the prices of petroleum products are not changing. It urges Nigerians to avoid panic buying as products are sufficient in the country.”