Nigeria’s Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said he has asked officials of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to be on the lookout for those marketers who are profiteering from the current fuel crisis.
He stated this on Wednesday during a media briefing following the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which took place at the State House.
- “We have reports of profiteering by marketers and I have directed NMDPRA to sanction anyone who profiteers from this kind of situation. We cannot stand by and watch our citizens being exploited by marketers,” he said.
Reason for fuel scarcity: According to Sylva, the challenge has nothing to do with supply, but distribution bottlenecks, which stakeholders are working to eradicate, so Nigerians can have a free supply of fuel across the country. He said that the petroleum ministry was not in control of all the factors that lead to scarcity. He cited forex issues as one of the causes of the fuel crisis.
Last week, major stakeholders along the value chain including the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, as well as regulators and security agencies, met to agree that marketers will start selling fuel at N195 per litre to Nigerians. Regulators are working to ensure strict compliance with the directive.
Some pushback: Following the directive, some IPMAN chapters told their members to shut down their stations if they could not get fuel directly from the NNPC depots.
However, as of February 7, IPMAN had directed its members to sell at the regulated price. According to news reports, the NNPC will allocate petrol to marketers directly to ease scarcity.
Meanwhile, IPMAN’s president Chinedu Okoronkwo said that the association recently held a closed-door meeting with the NNPC. After the meeting, two directives were issued by Okoronkwo.
IPMAN members should load fuel at NIPCO, MRS and other assigned depots, open up their stations and sell to consumers.
Members need to acquire POS and upgrade it to G4 or G5 for payment efficiency.
NNPC’s promise: During a February 7 interview with Channels TV, Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC, apologized to Nigerians for the lingering fuel crisis, which he attributed to logistics issues caused by the 2022 flooding across the country.
According to him, the delays recorded due to flooding led to arbitrage, which has continued to hamper distribution. While acknowledging the possibility of market forces’ impact, he made a promise that within one week, Nigerians will begin to see some positive changes like the reduction in fuel queues. He said:
- “We know that the solution is excess supply. Once we are able to do excess supply across the country, and across locations, we are going to resolve this issue, which is exactly what we’re doing now.
- “I’m not saying that you’re going to have zero queues within the next week. No, I can’t guarantee that because a number of things are out of our control.”