More facts have emerged why long queues have returned to fuel stations across Nigeria.
It was gathered that the challenges confronting the distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) may not abate for as long as the price of crude oil is above $100.
A reliable source from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) said that the global supply system, which has led to the rise of crude oil beyond $120 per barrel, is one of the reasons supply will be a challenge for the foreseeable future.
The country may have found itself in a precarious situation due to the Federal Government hesitation to develop a policy on the downstream sector amid dwindling foreign exchange.
The crude oil export receipts continue to dwindle, leading to the NNPC not being able to make remittances to the federation account.
The continued subsidy regime is emerging as an albatross for the states and the Federal Government.
A former President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, accused government officials of benefitting from corruption embedded in the subsidy regime.
Meanwhile, a team led by the Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure (DSSRI), Ogbuko Ukoha, has been dispatched to Lagos by the Authority Chief Executive, Farouk Ahmed, to restore normalcy.
NMDPRA also said there is no increment in the ex-depot price, saying, “There is no way a price adjustment would be done without official communication. When the President approved additional N10 for transporters, it was announced to the Nigerian public.
“In this case, there is no decision on the pump price increment. The team that was dispatched to Lagos will interface with marketers, NNPC and other government agencies in the entire supply chain to ensure everyone is on the same page. NMDPRA is fully aware of its responsibilities and it is discharging it diligently.”
On its part, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) appeared not to have an answer as the scarcity of petrol hits productive hours of Nigerians.
The spokesperson of the company, Garba Deen Muhammad, did not respond to the messages sent to him requesting for clarification on the scarcity.
Esele called on the government to adopt a phased removal of subsidies.He explained: “Why can’t the government remove the subsidy in phases. It could have been done in 2015 when it had a huge political capital. Why not remove it bit by bit? It could be 20 per cent every year till everything goes.”
Esele also claimed that marketers were pushed to increase pump price to N180 per litre because of additional levies they are forced to pay.
“Before now, the ex-depot price was N148 and now it is N165 per litre. Can they sell at the cost price and yet the NNPC is silent on the additional levies marketers are paying. The business of NNPC can no longer be done under the table. The company must come out and say if the ex-depot price has gone up.”