Contrary to claims by the National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the fuel scarcity was caused by hoarding, the problem is a result of late release of import allocation to oil marketers, gap in importation and short-supply of petroleum products to filling stations, The Nation has learnt.It was gathered that the first quarter (Q1) import allocation released in February by the Petroleum Product Regulatory Pricing Agency (PPPRA) did not only come late, but made it difficult for major oil marketers to import products.
An independent marketer, who pleaded for anonymity, said the inability of government to place order for the first quarter allocation early has resulted in the shortage of the petroleum products.
“The truth is that the products are not available in Nigeria now. You can only stockpile the commodities that are at your disposal. NNPC is being economical with the truth. Instead of telling the public the true position of things as relates to fuel scarcity, they are playing around. The import allocation came late, and as such, marketers have to wait for at least two weeks to bring the products in. In between the period, there is tendency that they have run out of stocks.
The Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMON), Femi Olawore said hoarding was not responsible for the scarcity of petroleum products that pervaded the country since last Thursday, adding that the problem is beyond that.
Olawore told The Nation that short-supply of the products has been the major problem in the country.
He said: “It is not true that hoarding is the chief cause of the lingering fuel scarcity.
However, we are making efforts to resolve the problems this week. NNPC is bringing the products to reduce the gap in supply and make them available to consumers. In fact, one marketer has just brought a shipload of fuel into the country. Before this week runs out, the problem would be resolve. Nigerians needs not panic as efforts are being made to proffer solution to the fuel scarcity.
Dr Omar Ibrahim, the Acting Group General Manager (Public Affairs) in NNPC, still insisted that fuel scarcity in Lagos was artificial.
Ibrahim said the corporation would introduce new measures to halt the “artificially-induced fuel scarcity.”
“NNPC, in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, will commence detailed monitoring of fuel stations in Lagos and environs,” he said.
Ibrahim said the monitoring would also extend to other states of the federation to check the incidence of hoarding.