…says queues to end soon
…DPR, PPPRA’s absent at port stalls product discharge – Marketers
By Ediri Ejoh
THE Federal Government has ordered depot operators to engage on 24-hour loading of petrol, in a bid to ease the long queues and scarcity witnessed across the country.
This came as major marketers said they were ramping up imports and product supply to complement the efforts of the NNPC.
The directive was given during a visit by Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, managing director NNPC Retail, Yemi Adetunji, to Oando OVH, Mobil and Total terminals in Apapa, Lagos on December 25.
CEO of OVH Energy, Oando’s downstream licensee, Olaposi Williams, said they were ramping up petrol imports delivering upwards of 150 trucks everyday across Nigeria.
According to her, “We currently have a vessel that is waiting to discharge petrol but there were no officials from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, to clear the product.”
The same sentiments were expressed by Ernest Umunah, of Total Nigeria Terminals, who attributed disruptions at the terminals and absent of imports from Independent marketers in the industry.
He also requested incentives granted to marketers to enable it ramp up supply.
Speaking to journalists after the inspection tour, Osinbajo assured the President has instructed that everything be done to ensure that current supply gaps are plugged to reduce the sufferings of Nigerians whose holidays have been marred by fuel scarcity.
“Just going by what we have seen, there is what is called winter deliveries, obviously towards the end of the year, the cost of fuel goes up in the parts of the world where it is refined and that gives rise to problems for those importing it. Of course once you have any kind of disruption immediately you begin to see hoarding and panic buying.
“We are also trying to ensure that this sort of disruption don’t happen in the future, that’s why we are working to ensure that this is solved,” said Osinbajo.
Some of the tanker drivers who spoke complained that the security agencies such as the Navy and the Soldiers who have been tasked to manage the chaotic access to Apapa are contributing to the problem.
The drivers said that the major marketers all have dedicated parking spaces for their tankers but the Navy and Soldiers who are controlling access to the ports insist that they stay on queues with the rest of the trucks bearing empty containers heading to wharf.
However, they lamented the excessive exploitation going on at the depots, saying “The deception is very high during inspection. We are asked to pay additional N10,000 and above to get the product at the terminals before buying the product.”
Recall that the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, had couple of days ago told journalists that measures were already in place to bolster the current fuel supply and eliminate the extraneous factors that have led to the persistent petrol queues.
He said within the last two weeks the national truck out capacity had been jerked up to an average of 1,500 trucks, translating to 52 million litres per day which is much higher than the normal consumption of 850 trucks per day across the various depots in the country.
The corporation also said it has emplaced a 24-hour loading and sales operations in all depots and NNPC Mega Stations across the country while marketers have been instructed to do same.
Baru said 814 million litres of petrol were currently being injected into the system to guarantee nationwide elimination of fuel queues before the end of the year.
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