By Bassey Udo
Amid accusations and counter-accusations between private depot owners and independent petroleum products marketers over alleged hike in ex-depot price, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) on Tuesday urged consumers to eschew panic buying of petroleum products.
The company said on Tuesday that despite the current crisis, it has at least a 30 days sufficiency of petroleum products stock to last through the festive period and beyond.
The depot owners were alleged to have raised the ex-depot price for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol from N148 per litre to N157 per litre last weekend.
Following the increase by about N9 per litre, members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) resolved to either buy or lift the products from private depots in protest.
The IPMAN National Vice President Abubakar Maigandi, said the 6.08 percent increase in price without consultation was unacceptable.
Maigandi said IPMAN members uld not afford to lift products at the new price since the Federal Government would not allow them to sell atba retail price above the approved band of between N162 and N165 per litre.
The development has resulted in pockets of scarcity noticed in Abuja and environs, as some filling stations were out of stock of petroleum products since Monday.
In its reaction on Tuesday, the NNPC cautioned consumers against panic buying, giving assurance of adequate stock of products.
“The NNPC Ltd hereby urges the general public not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products, as the Company has sufficient stock of the products that will last at least 30 days theough the festive period and beyond,” the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the company, Garbadeen Muhammad, said.
Muhammad said the NNPC was also engaging all stakeholders to ensure smooth supply and distribution of products to every part of the country.
He was however quiet on whether the new ex-depot price, which would likely result in an upward review of the retail pump price across the country, was approved.
Also, the IPMAN President said his association decided to meet with Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Midstream & Downstream Regulatory Authority, Ahmed Farouk, ro find a way of resolving the issue.
Maigandi said IPMAN would demand the Authority to grant its members direct product allocations instead of allowing them to depend on a third party.
Besides, he said IPMAN would also ask the Authority to settle all outstanding debt owed marketers by the defunct Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), which jas accumulated for about seven months.
Recently, the Kano chapter of IPMAN warned of an imminent fuel crisis due to a price hike.
The IPMAN Kano Chapter chairman, Bashir Danmallam, accused some private depot owners of increasing the price of the commodity from N148 per litre to between N153 and N155 per litre.
He called on the NNPC to investigate the allegation that the private depot owners increased their ex-depot price since Friday last week.
“We know it’s only the federal government that imports fuel into the country.
“As I am talking to you, private depot owners in Warri, Calabar Lagos, and Oghara in Delta State have increased their prices. We hope the management of the NNPC will investigate and intervene,” Danmalam said.