Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has warned of imminent fuel scarcity in the six states of the country due to what it described as an unfriendly business environment caused by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The association also accused private depots in the country of selling petroleum products above the government regulated prices.
IPMAN therefore, urged the presidency, National Assembly and petroleum resources minister to stop NNPC from collecting unwarranted levies from its members “to ensure industrial harmony and save the general public from undeserved pains associated with fuel scarcity.”
Addressing reporters in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the Western Zone Chair of IPMAN, Alhaji Debo Ahmed said: “Labour unions- Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), NUPENG and PTD should not fold their arms while the downstream sector is being thrown into chaos.”
The western zone of IPMAN comprises Oyo, Osun, Lagos, Kwara, Ondo and Ekiti states.
Lamenting the state of the depots, Ahmed said: “It is unfortunate that all the five depots in the system 2B including the largest depot at Ibadan, which can store 120 million litres have been grounded for the past two years. With all the five depots grounded, marketers are tied to private depots in Apapa where they now serve the general public.
“In the past, pipelines have been managed and secured by the depot stakeholders which are being financed by marketers.
“All these contributions are not being taken into consideration in the scheme of things. Marketers are left at the mercy of NNPC. If people buy kerosene at N400 and above, marketers should not be blamed but pitied because if the depots are working, prices will definitely come down.”
He added: “As if what NNPC has been doing is not enough, it came out with a memo on January 11, this year for marketers to renew their Bulk Purchase Agreement (BPA) at N125,000 per year for five years which translates into about N2 billion to cover NNPC/PPMC incidental expenses.
“Several attempts have been made to dialogue with NNPC/PPMC management on this issue and availability of products in our depots but all to no avail; that is why we decided to inform the general public on this before we shut down our stations.
“It is important to let people know that NNPC/PPMC has observed BPA in breach. In 2001, the idea was brought up by NNPC but upon discussion, it was dropped when they realised it was improper.”