L-R: The Hungarian Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Prof. Gabor Ternak, the Hungarian Hon. Consul, Mr Endre P. Deri being welcomed to the NNPC towers in Abuja last week.
Despite last week’s denial by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) saying that Premium Motor Spirit is stilling selling at N133.28 per litre, downstream operators have confirmed to Shipping Position Daily at the weekend that the total cost at which fuel is taken out of the tank farms is N146 per litre.
Independent petroleum marketers had last week threatened to withdraw their services from December 11, 2017 over NNPC's breach of bulk purchase agreement to sell fuel to them at N133.28k per litre. But the NNPC had promptly denied the allegations in a statement released by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, saying that the corporation remains committed to ensuring constant supply of petroleum products across the country to aid hitch-free movement of motorists during and beyond the yuletide season.
The NNPC had also urged members of the public not to entertain any fear or engage in panic buying of petroleum products as there was enough supply.
But operators told our correspondent last week at the expansive tank farms at Ibafon area of Lagos that Lagosians should be prepared for a black December which could be characterized with high fuel scarcity and long queues.
A source who pleaded anonymity told Shipping Position Daily that two tank farms “Sahara and Gulf Treasure are currently selling fuel at N140, while others are selling for N142 and 143”
“The independent marketers would hire truck to lift it from the depot totaling N145, now you can see that the fuel you and I are buying at the fuel station is fake, when you lift product at the depot at N146 and you are selling for N145, you can see that it is all a fraud”, he stated.
According to the source, at the Ejigbo depot, fuel is sold at N142 per litre, at NNPC Ibadan it is sold at N143. He said that, “all these are going on and yet marketers are not complaining, rather, they are buying it the way it is because they know how to arm-twist Nigerians and get their money back”.
He said that it is the populace that is designed to suffer the brunt.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) last week said its members had been running their fuel stations at a loss in the last eight months due to NNPC's default in the bulk purchase agreement it signed with IPMAN to sell fuel to its members at N133.28k per litre.
"Now, a litre of petrol is being sold to IPMAN members by Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPMAN) at N141, apart from running costs, bank charges and other expenses,
"This made it impossible for IPMAN members to sell a litre of fuel at the controlled price of N145, but N146 per litre,
"While the NNPC had refused to sell fuel to its members regularly, the corporation is diverting the supplies to DAPMAN at a price of N117 per litre.
"DAPMAN in turn is selling to IPMAN members at N141 per litre," the association said in statement signed by its state Chairman, Alhaji Alanamu Balogun, Vice Chairman, Mr Gbenga Ilupeju and the Secretary, Mr Kunle Oyenuga.
IPMAN, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Lagos State Governor and the security agencies to address the issue.
"If not, IPMAN members will withdraw their services and shut down all their stations in Lagos State.
"We have endured enough and are set for a showdown with NNPC for irregular supply at Ejigbo satellite depot, Lagos," it said.
The association said its members were in business for profit, using bank loans and would rather stop sales of fuel than to run into bank debts or at a loss.
It noted that over 900 fuel stations were attached to Ejigbo satellite depot alone.