Oil majors move to end fuel scarcity, IPMAN threatens shutdown 


As Nigerians grapple with fuel scarcity, the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) Tuesday revealed plans to take delivery of eight vessels of over 300m litres of fuel to arrest the challenge.

The association said their priority is to restore stability and ensure steady supply of the product.

The assurance is coming some five days after the Nigeria National  Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) disclosed that all logistic challenges causing fuel scarcity had been resolved.

Blueprint’s findings revealed that roadside hawkers (black marketers) are making quick business in most parts of the country, including the FCT Abuja, the nation’s capital city, as a 10-litre worth of fuel sells for between N900-N1, 200.

This medium, however, observed that tankers were offloading the stock in some filling stations, thus showing signs that the situation may soon abate. Some of the filing stations include Conoil in Kado Estate, NIPCO in Jabi, NNPC by Jabi Primary and a host of others.

…MEMAN assures

And speaking to journalists during a virtual press conference, MEMAN Chairman Huub Stokman assured sanity will be restored as his association was discussing with other major stakeholders to end the scarcity.

Stokman said: “Our top priority as MEMAN is to restore stability and ensure fuel supply with all depots and retail outlets across Nigeria promptly. We want to reassure the public that there is an adequate supply of PMS available.

“Our members are taking over 8 vessels this week with over 300m litres which is well above our normal level. Our depots will extend their loading times to ensure we load out as much as we can include tomorrow. Our partners in NARTO and PTDs have assured us of their support to make sure the product gets to the retail outlets quickly and safely. We would extend the opening time of selected retail outlets to serve our customers as quickly as possible.”

He said the independent marketers had also been allocated additional PMS to arrest the situation, and assured that marketers and the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited(NNPCL) were not changing their prices.

While blaming the current situation on logistics like bad weather outside the shores and other causes, Stokman said: “However in the coming days we expect to see major improvement in the fuel situation. Based on the data we see, it would not take two weeks. I truly believe we would see improvement this week.”

…Marketers threaten shutdown

Despite the assurance from MEMAN,   the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) is threatening to shut down operations over failure by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA) to pay about N200 billion bridging debts owed its members.

The group’s spokesman and chairman, IPMAN Aba Depot, Maxi Oliver Okolo, said the agency   failed to implement in full the directive by the Minister of Petroleum Resources(Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri,, as agreed during a stakeholder meeting on February 20, 2024, that the marketers should be paid within 40-day timeline.

They said: “Today, we have crossed the 40 days timeline given to the NMDPRA to clear the debt, and it is shameful to state that only the paltry sum of N13 billion has been paid, thus going the whole length to ignore our plight without remorse and without recourse to the Minister’s directive.

“Before now, we had taken the honourable path to continually seek explanation from the NMDPRA, on why he has blatantly refused to offset the remaining debt, but we have ceaselessly met brick walls.

“Secondly, we are not happy with the indiscriminate increment in the issuance and renewal of the Sales and Storage License, by the NMDPRA, and the subsequent delays in acquiring the license, which our members have been recently subjected to.

“As IPMAN members we are also calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to closely look into this unwholesome figure which is highly detrimental to our business and reverse it forthwith, as it is bound to impact negatively on the masses thereafter. We see no reason why there should be an increment of over 500 percent on the Sales and Storage License by the NMDPRA. This is outright wickedness, and therefore highly detrimental to our businesses. We totally reject it.

 “We also hereby call on the federal government of Nigeria to wholly intervene forthwith in these lingering issues between the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Midstream & Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

“We are poised to take far reaching decisions that may cripple the supply and sales of petroleum products across Nigeria, if our demands are not met within the shortest period of time. More so, this money in question that the marketers are asking for is our monies set aside, collected from us, and deducted from our own monies, to augment our transport fares.

“We are merely asking for the return of our money that is in the purse of the NMDPRA. It is not a matter of the government’s budget. NMDPRA has illegally taken our monies and this is the highest level of fraud.”

Similarly, the chairman, IPMAN Depots Chairmen Forum, Alhaji Yahaya Alhassan, urged the federal government to intervene and ensure independent marketers obtain petrol from NNPCL as against the current arrangement of being compelled to patronize private depots.

  …Reps summon petroleum minister

In a related development, the House of Representatives Tuesday  summoned the minister  and other  relevant stakeholders in the petroleum industry to appear before the lawmakers  and brief Nigerians on measures being put in place to end the current fuel scarcity and avert its reoccurrence in the future.

The resolution followed  the adoption of a motion of Urgent Public Importance on “The Need To Address The Lingering Fuel Scarcity And Rising Retail Prices Of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) Across Nigeria” by  Umar Shehu Ajilo during plenary.

“Worried by the lingering fuel scarcity accompanied by excessive increase in retail price of Premium Motor Spirit in filling stations across the country which has no doubt occasioned additional hardship to the Nigerian citizens.

“Concerned that this fuel scarcity is coming at a time when the adverse economic effect caused by subsidy removal and soaring inflation is yet to be addressed by the government, not to mention the deteriorating income of the Nigerian masses.

 “Further concerned that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd is yet to address this perennial and persistent fuel scarcity problem faced by Nigerians despite the volume of resources at its disposal.

“Most worrisome that all these economic quagmires have made the lives of average Nigerians unbearable with a litre of fuel selling as much as N1200 in some states of the Federation.

“This 10th Assembly must rise to the occasion to ensure that lasting measures are taken to address this unfortunate and embarrassing situation permanently in the interest of all Nigerians,” the motion reads.

He therefore urged his colleagues to invite the petroleum resources minister as well as other relevant stakeholders in the industry to appear before the lawmakers for some explanation and way out of the current fuel scarcity.

About Benjamin Umuteme and Joshua Egbodo,Abuja

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