The Kirikiri Depot Owners Association on Monday denied hiking the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, amidst the current scarcity of the product across the country.
Its Secretary, Mr. Simeon Anabor, said in Lagos that the ex-depot price of petrol was still being controlled by the regulatory agency and had not been increased.
The ex-depot price is the price at which marketers buy products at the depot, and determines how much they sell to motorists.
Some independent petroleum marketers are accused of selling above the approved price band for PMS in Nigeria, which is between N162 to N165 per litre, attributing the increment to an increase of about N10 in ex-depot price by private depot owners.
Reacting to the allegation, Anabor said it depended on the axis of the depots the marketers were loading from.
He said: “Our association doesn’t operate across Lagos. As it is, the price is still being controlled by the regulatory agency.
“Definitely, the depots that have products in Kirikiri are still selling within the approved ex-depot price.”
On the availability of products in the state, he said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. was making efforts to bring in more vessels into the country.
“In my personal observation, the long queues are reducing at the filling stations and I know within one week or thereabout, though subject to other factors, that the queues will be cleared, “Anabor said.
He also explained that aside the issue of the current challenges, the cost of doing the business had not been easy, which might be the reason why some of the depots had no products.
“You have to go through the processes of obtaining Proforma Invoice from Petroleum Products Marketing Company Ltd. or NNPC.
“Then you still have to raise funds from the banks, and these are the challenges making some depots not to have products,” Anabor said.
However, Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) , called on the Federal Government to intervene on the issue.
Okoronkwo said the ex-depot price was increased with about N10 by some private depot owners which had left those who buy from them with no option than to increase the pump price.
He said: We believe there is no basis for this increment and they are capitalising on the ongoing crisis which is very wrong.
“Our members cannot run their businesses on loss. They sell based on how much they buy from the depots.
“If private tank farm owners release these products, the forces of demand and supply will drive the price downwards.
“Once there is product availability everywhere, the price will go back to the way it was before the scarcity.”
Fuel queues returned to filling stations in some parts of the country two weeks ago in the aftermath of importation of off-spec petrol into the country.
The NNPC had moved to resolve the problem with importation of on-spec products which are being pumped into the market.
Despite the efforts, fuel queues still persist in some areas, while some filling stations are still not selling the product.