Fuel scarcity to persist until depots restock – Marketers

Queue for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) have resurfaced in Lagos, Abuja, and many other cities across the country.

The reality of the situation has also led to anxiety and confusion as consumers engage in panic buying.

Residents besieged fuel stations in Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos, on Tuesday, with queues stretching across some parts of the state.

Some fuel stations were locked while a few which were opened had long queues of motorists waiting to buy the product.

The situation is not different in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and surrounding states, where the majority of filling stations were shut and motorists spent hours in the sun struggling to buy from the few that were open.

The anxiety over scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, is coming in the wake of assurance given by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that there would be no increase in the pump price of petrol in February.

However, reports gathered that the queues returned, partly because of the supply of a wrong specification of petrol in some parts of the country, and its subsequent removal in compliance with a government order.

It would be recalled that fuel scarcity and long queues of motorists were first noticed in Abuja two weeks ago, before the queue fizzled out last week.

Similarly, the long queues for petrol hit some parts of Lagos last weekend, especially on the island and are yet to abate.

According to reports, bad or poor quality petrol was noticed a week ago as many automobiles were affected in Abuja, Awka in Anambra State and other parts of the country.

The report also revealed that relevant authorities, which got to know about the development decided to stop or reduce distribution for proper investigation.

This culminated in the long queues in Abuja, Lagos, Ogun and other states.

Meanwhile, some petroleum marketers say the current scarcity will persist until depots are restocked with adequate and quality products.

The marketers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity blamed the situation on the supply of a wrong specification of petrol in some parts of the country.

They noted that the directive to withdraw the product from the market even after distribution to many filling stations across Lagos and other areas created a supply shortfall, thereby, leading to panic buying.

“As we speak, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) is working to ensure that this disruption to the supply chain is addressed as soon as possible.

“However, there is the challenge of logistics and how to compensate those who were supplied with the adulterated products.

“The NNPC is working with marketers on this and once the depots are restocked, tankers will start loading and supply will improve across the country.

“Until we are able to achieve this, queues will remain at the petrol stations because of the panic already created”, one of the top marketers said.

An independent petroleum marketer, (name withheld), said there had been complaints from some motorists on the fuel quality, which made his station stop selling for now.

“Some independent marketers are not hoarding products as is being alleged. Some of us were affected by the supply we got and we are trying to resolve the situation so that we can continue our business”,  he said.

On its part, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), also blamed the shortage of supply on issues surrounding the presence of bad fuel in the market as well as undersupply from the national oil company.

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