Queues: Why Petrol Prices Have Slightly Increased – Marketers

Petrol merchants have blamed the country’s recent petrol scarcity on supply issues at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, the country’s sole importer of the premium commodity.

The marketers stated that they had to rely on depot owners to obtain petrol accessible at their retail locations, resulting in a “slight” increase in the price of the crucial product across the country.

Billy Gillis-Harry, National President of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), represented the marketers on Tuesday’s Channels Television breakfast show, The Morning Brief.

Petrol scarcity struck the country late, with the state-run NNPC blaming it on “adverse weather conditions” and “flooding”.

Snake-like lines have been observed at filling stations across the country. The situation has exacerbated traffic in states as huge lines grew on major roadways, impeding vehicular movement, while thousands of people were delayed at bus stops, with transportation charges rising.

In Lagos, retail establishments controlled by independent marketers increased their pricing from ₦615 to over ₦650, in addition to NNPC filling stations selling for around ₦570. Prices are significantly higher in Abuja and other states.

PETROAN chief (Gillis-Harry) confirmed that the NNPC, which imports petrol into the country and supplies marketers, has not changed its price but “if we do not get the product directly from NNPC, we will get it from depots struggling to do everything to get products out in the market, so the prices will not be the same”.

‘NNPC Should Explore Alternatives’

He said the NNPC was carrying out an upgrade on its platform and that should be concluded as soon as possible “but that did not stop NNPC from making alternative arrangements to make sure we have petroleum products. As far as we know, the challenges are all supply-based”.

“If there is anybody to be blamed; it should be blamed from the source of the products because retailers only sell what we are given, we do not import or refine,” he added.

Gillis-Harry said the cost of logistics was getting more complex daily because diesel used by trucks has also become scarce and expensive. He said the prices of logistics for fuel distribution across Nigeria should be subsidised by the government.

He denied the allegations that petrol marketers are taking advantage of Nigerians by hiking the prices of the commodity. He said the highest cost of petrol should not be more than ₦680.

“I would expect that the highest price in petroleum where the depots operate – Lagos, Delta, Calabar, Rivers State – should be anything between ₦620 to ₦680 maximum. And when you add all the transportation issues that should take it from state to state, you can then look at the incremental additions that can come in, and make us not to be selling at ₦1,000,” Gillis-Harry said.

Forex Shortage

The PETROAN chief said forex shortages have impeded the importation of petroleum products into the country hence limiting the full operationalisation of the deregulation of the sector.

“If we are importing products in a way that the deregulation is set for us to be able to import, which we desire to do, but we are hamstrung by the unavailability of foreign exchange to make that endeavour work. Even though we don’t want Nigeria to be an import-centred place for PMS, we need PMS to be able to work until our refineries are producing,” he said.

Gillis-Harry urged Nigerians to be patient and understanding as the current fuel shortages would be resolved.

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