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Monday, May 20, 2024
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Fuel Scarcity Imminent in Nigeria

.Supplies dry up as NNPC ration fuel to depot owners, leaving marketers with acute product shortage

The noticeable emerging queues in many fuel stations may soon spread throughout the country and may soon become even more intense as oil marketers can no longer replenish their fast depleting stocks.

Investigations by our reporters revealed that NNPC Limited, the sole importer of petrol has drastically reduced fuel supply to Depot owners, thereby leaving independent marketers who rely on the Depot owners for their supplies stranded.

According to highly reliable downstream industry sources, NNPC, for reasons that are not yet clear, has now adopted a policy of supplying product to only depot owners with at least 50 fuel stations.

Although weeks back, NNPC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari claimed that there was no need to panic as there was enough stock, in excess of 1 trillion litres, industry players are today troubled by the fact that NNPC now focuses its full attention on supplying products to only its retail outlets.

Further investigations show most retail stations in the country may run out of fuel supply in the days ahead as only about 60 percent of the Depot owners have up to 50 retail stations, which is the NNPC new criterion for being eligible to be supplied product.

Said a source: “What we face now is an imminent collapse of the sector and a return to an era of acute fuel shortage with the attendant disruption to socio-economic life.

“With Depot owners not able to import product owing to shortage of dollar and now NNPC which earlier claimed to have enough stock not supplying to most marketers, you can imagine what the supply situation will be in the days ahead.”

Hardest hit by this latest unpleasant development are the independent oil marketers who have filling stations scattered all over the country, but rely on Depot owners for their supplies.

“If the independent marketer with two or three stations in some strategic remote areas of the country cannot get supply and the big players can also not receive supplies from NNPC and with NNPC not having enough retail outlets to meet the fuel needs of Nigerians, it is obvious that we are returning to the era of serious fuel crisis”, the source added.

Industry operatives last night called on the federal government to take the NNPCL up on the actual fuel stock and supply situation in the country as the the company appears to have challenges beyond what it may be admitting in public.

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“If indeed there is enough stock as NNPCL claimed weeks back, and realising that the Depot owners are now handicapped and unable to import because of the challenges of forex, what then will inform its decision to be rationing fuel at this critical point in time? NNPCL needs to come clean on this serious issue.” An oil marketers Executive noted last evening.

From all Indications, the federal government will have to move fast by either fast tracking its strategies of easing the forex crunch to enable Depot owners resume fuel importation or compel NNPC to flood the market with the product, if truly it has enough, or both.

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