Fuel Scarcity: How NNPCL Put An End To Queues At Filling Stations

By Adewole Kehinde

“You must be bold, brave, and courageous and find a way… to get in the way”John Lewis

In Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Oyo, Osun, and other states, motorists and other users woke up on Saturday, April 28, 2024, to witness long queues at the few filling stations that had the product to sell, while many outlets belonging mostly to independent marketers without the product were closed.

A few days later, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, of NNPC Ltd., Olufemi Soneye, came up with a press release, stating, “The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, 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 they have been resolved.

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

The NNPC Limited also assured Nigerians that there is sufficient product to last 30 days, and as of Friday, when I was at the NNPC Towers, I overhead that another 1.5 billion litres of fuel had just arrived at the port.

According to the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, the lingering fuel scarcity troubling Nigeria has been attributed to panic buying and exploitative practices by some petroleum marketers.

There is no doubt that NNPC Limited has kept to its commitment to ensuring fuel availability; the responsibility of fair distribution lies with the marketers, who seek to capitalise on the situation.

I was so shocked when I heard the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) countering the NNPC’s position, arguing that the main issue is an inadequate supply of fuel, not their business practices.

Luckily, the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria confirmed the receipt of 300 million litres of fuel from eight vessels this week, suggesting that while supplies are arriving, distribution remains a challenge.

We all know that since the implementation of the PIA, the NNPC Limited has been responsible for adequate supply, which they have been doing while it is the business of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority to ensure massive distribution of petroleum motor spirit (PMS) across the country.

To further counter the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the South-West Regional Coordinator of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Ayo Cardoso, said, “We have received over 300 million litres as of Tuesday. More have arrived as we speak, but I can’t give you the figure. Vessels will keep arriving in Nigeria for 15 days, which started counting on Monday, and we will keep distributing the product across the nation.”

Nigerians should know that the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), formerly known as the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR), security agencies, and not the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.), are responsible for checking and sanctioning petrol stations that are taking advantage of the challenge by selling above the prescribed limits of the NNPCL.

The speculation regarding the potential rise in petroleum product prices is mainly baseless.

Even after the Central Bank of Nigeria and the country’s economic management team bolstered the value of the naira against the US dollar in the foreign exchange market, nothing suggests that the price of gasoline at the pump could increase. These measures include fiscal and monetary policies.

Furthermore, as local refineries prepare for production, Dangote Refinery has proven its ability to supply a sizable amount of raw materials. Local refinery capacity is also being increased.

The entire management and board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited deserve accolades for their adequate fuel supply, which has resulted in the disappearance of queues at filling stations across the country.

Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached at 08166240846. E-mail: kennyadewole@gmail.com

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