Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has accused some unidentified cartel in the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) office in Port Harcourt of masterminding the high pump prices of petroleum products in the South Eastern part of the country.
According to the association unless the cartel’s activities are checked, prices of these products will always be very high in the south east zone which comprises of Enugu, Makurdi, Calabar, Port Harcourt and Aba.
These allegations were levelled by the duo of chairman of the eastern zone of IPMAN, Chief Young Ndu, and national Public Relations Officer, Chief Ezekwesili Madugwuna, who claimed that some petrol marketing companies in collusion with some officials of the PPMC in Port Harcourt were manipulating the supply of petroleum products to their selfish advantage.
Justifying their argument that petrol product prices must be high because of the atrocities of the cartel, the IPPMAN officials explained that many of the marketers who can no longer cope have been sourcing products form other places, hence the soaring prices.
According to the marketers, this is why kerosene, which is most affected, is sold for N105 instead of the approved N50 at filling stations in the zone.
Further justifying its allegation, the group had recently sent a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in which it alleged that the monthly loading programme for January to March 2009 and daily loading batch schedule confirmed that only a “noticeable number of people” were given products to lift in contravention of earlier approval.
According to IPMAN, marketers who had met all the stipulated conditions for loading were jettisoned in preference for people and companies that were never listed on the daily loading schedule.
“The nation loses heavily as these diverted products do not get to the consumers and there is perennial scarcity of petroleum products in the South-east and South-South with its (attendant) high cost and (selling) above the pump price,”