Long queue of vehicles waiting to buy fuel in Abuja
By Adebayo Obajemu
Most independent petroleum marketers in different parts of Nigeria have shut down their operations over uncertainties in the downstream sector arising from the policy statement of President Bola Tinubu to end controversial petrol subsidy.
The marketers’ decision to hoard Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, is in reaction to Tinubu’s inaugural address where he emphasised that petrol subsidy is gone.
Further findings showed that Tinubu’s statement jolted motorists and residents into panic buying to save as much product as available before the full implementation of the petrol subsidy removal.
NATIONAL WAVES correspondent who monitored the situation on Monday gathered that most of the fuel stations in Alimosho, Egbeda, Igando, Iyana Iba and Festac areas of Lagos state shut their stations over fears of subsidy removal.
Meanwhile, filling stations in Lekki/ Ajah axis of Lagos state recorded long queues by motorists who have decided to rush to the stations to buy as much products as they can before the scarcity begins.
The situation was, however, the same in Ogun state as most of the filling stations in Sango, Ifo and Papalanto areas of the state were under locks and keys as only a few were seen selling at between N300 and N400 to customers following the inaugural speech of Mr. Tinubu.
Hoarding of the product by marketers was also recorded in different parts of the country including Ondo, Edo, Delta, and Abuja, leading to queues and panic buying.
Our correspondent who visited petrol stations around Abuja metropolis Monday evening and Tuesday morning found that queues have yet again resurfaced in the city.
Across the nation’s capital city, some filling stations were under lock and key while some were besieged by motorcyclists, tricycle owners, as well as private and commercial drivers.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited(NNPCL) which is the sole importer of premium motor spirit (PMS) in the country, has reacted to the President’s statement, welcoming the decision of the new administration to remove subsidy on PMS.
Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL in a statement addressing the press on Monday, noted that the removal of the subsidy, which has been a burden on the national oil company’s cash flow, will free up funds to enable optimal operations within the company.
Reacting to the scarcity already being experienced, the NNPCL GCEO assured Nigerians of a sufficient supply of the product.
According to him, the NNPC Limited is also monitoring all its distribution networks to ensure compliance.
NMDPRA VOWS TO SHUT DOWN FILLING STATIONS HOARDING
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has commended President Tinubu for the pronouncement he made over the subsidy removal.
According to the Authority’s Chief Executive, Engr. Ahmed Farouk, the decision of the President was in tandem with the provision of the law.
He confirmed that the Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) provided that the subsidy on PMS should be removed from February last year and luckily the National Assembly has also provided the budgetary allocation for subsidy removal in 2022 and 2023.
“The good thing about it is that NNPC the supplier of the commodity has been struggling for some time and in order to survive, the removal is actually necessary.
“As much as possible. and now we will be working with NNPC to ensure that there is a continuous flow of petroleum products especially the PMS to prevent any shortfall in the supply chain.
“We have noticed fuel queues in the FCT and other parts of the country due to panic buying as a reaction to the pronouncement of the President.
“We are calling on all and sundry to take it easy. He assured that as a regulator that NMDPRA will ensure that consumers of the products are not shortchanged.
“We are going to be working with other agencies and the security operatives to FCCPC to ensure that we abide by the provision s of the law.
We are calling on MOMAN, IPMAN, and DAPPPMAN to ensure that they continue opening their facilities and avoid hoarding the products because the regulators will open its search net to ensure that the Nigerians are not cheated,” the ACE said.
IPMAN KICKS AGAINST SUDDEN IMPLEMENTATION OF SUBSIDY REMOVAL
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has rejected the decision of President Tinubu to end fuel subsidy based on the provisions made by his predecessor.
Chief Ukadike Chinedu, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, National Public Relations Officer, on his part urged the new government administration to engage with marketers before embarking on the final removal of petrol subsidy.
He said, “We are not in support of the removal of fuel subsidy at this time. We have said it repeatedly that our refineries should be fixed before taking such a decision that will cause galloping inflation and inflict more hardship on the masses.
“The government of President Tinubu should not adopt what is in the transition document handed over to it by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. Someone (Buhari) who for eight years did not remove subsidy is advising a new government to remove it.
“That is not fair and should not be adopted. Rather the new government should sit and discuss with marketers and other stakeholders on how to manage the fuel subsidy regime. We now have the Dangote Refinery, but all our refineries are still not working, so we don’t think removing subsidy is the right thing to do now,” Ukadike stated.
The IPMAN’s spokesperson, therefore, noted that the independent marketers are committed to working with the new administration to work out solutions that could reduce the harsh impact of subsid removal.