After the holidays, long queues resurfaced at filling stations in most parts after a month of relief from fuel scarcity and long queues at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other neighboring States.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) blamed the long public holidays and increased fuel purchases which is, “also usual with returning residents of the FCT from the public holidays.”
However, according to reports, the Spokesperson, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr. Chinedu Ukadike said although, the long holidays were a contributing factor, the issue was more of logistics, in terms of haulage, transportation and handling.
According to him, most of its marketers were owed over N3billion in bridging fees by the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF).
He said this has put a strain on the financial capability of members who find it difficult to access funds from commercial banks.
In his words:
“The issue of scarcity being experienced is not that there is a scarcity of products. It is a logistics issue in terms of haulage, transportation and handling.
“Most of our marketers who are bridged from Port Harcourt, Warri, and Calabar, PEF, owe them a lot of money. I cannot put the value correctly but with what we have gathered so far, they are icing marketers over N3bn and marketers are out of cash, and financial forms for doing business.
“That is why you see them not averse in terms of dispatching their trucks to load from these private depots situated in the riverine areas.”
Consequently, he called for the establishment of an energy bank for marketers to access loans to boost their operations.
“We agreed in our meetings that we would approach the NASS for the enactment of energy bank which will only serve stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, especially the entire distribution in the Petroleum Industry.
“A truck of AGO now is N21million where do we get that kind of money? And the profit margin is still the same, it has not increased. A truck of PMS now is around N10million, where do we get such money. If you borrow from the bank, they will overcharge you.”