Petroleum products marketers in the country said that they can no longer continue to sell fuel (Premium Motor Spirit) at the official pump price of N145 per litre without incurring losses.
Disclosing this yesterday after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari, the Chairman of Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), Mr Dapo Abiodun, pointed out that since the price of crude is directly proportional to refined product, his members could not import petrol and sell at N145 anymore.
Giving some hints on what transpired during the meeting, the marketer said that the problem of fuel scarcity witnessed over the past two weeks nationwide was not willful or caused by marketers.
He explained further: “The situation from our point of view is that from January to December, the price of crude remained relatively stable but flowing the hurricane Katrina in the month of September October, crude prices went up and marketers lost the ability to import any sell at N145 per liter. And this business is a partnership between marketers and NNPC. Marketers bring in a certain volume and NNPC also brings in a certain volume.
“He wanted to know the truth and to ensure that going forward this problem will be solved once and for all. And that is why you saw that we sat in here from 2pm and the meeting just finished after three and half hours.
“A lot of issues were raised and a committee was constituted that will meet tomorrow under the chairmanship of the minister of petroleum to further go into the nitty gritty and to ensure that these problems do not reoccur again.
“From our point of view as marketers, we made our submission known to government and we emphasized the fact that this was not a marketer-related problem. There was no hoarding on the part of any marketer. Marketers are your brothers, they are Nigerian citizens, they are businessmen, no marketer makes money from hoarding petroleum products, our business is to take petrol and sell.
“In the past marketers bring in about 60% while NNPC brings about 35 to 40 per cent. But by the month of October, marketers completely stopped importing because there is no more subsidy so we can’t sell for profit so we have to stop importing. So the burden of importing 100% now fell on NNPC”, Abiodun added.
On the issue of subsidy, the marketer said that there was no subsidy currently, adding that the government decided that the N145 cap will remain because of what they consider will be consequences on Nigerians. He linked the subsidy removal to the fuel scarcity witnessed during the yuletide but commended the NNPC for its efforts to end it.
According to him, the meeting at the Villa was convened, among other reasons “to ensure that this does not happen again and this we are going to continue tomorrow in the committee that was set up under the chairmanship of the minister of state for petroleum to ensure that we find a long lasting and enduring solutions to this problem so that Nigerians will not have to go through this borrowing situation again.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government after the meeting set up a committee headed by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, to find lasting solution to the fuel scarcity that saw Nigerians go through a lot of pain during the yuletide season.
Other members of the committee which will continue its meeting today are, NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, major parastatals under the ministry, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, (IPMAN), Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), and relevant labour unions’ representatives, among others.