THERE were indications, yesterday, that the prolonged petrol shortage in the country will last till the end of February 2022, due mainly to the gap created in the distribution chain.
Investigation by Vanguard indicated that the stoppage of the imported bad petrol, evacuation and importation of new product required a long time to actualise, leading to instability in the value chain, which needed some time to stabilise.
National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, who confirmed the development, told Vanguard: “At present, there is still shortage of petrol nationwide. Most of our members do not have the product because the depot owners and others prefer to supply their outlets at this time.
But we expect that the instability will be over by the end of February 2022. The government said it has imported 2.1 billion litres of the product. Since this quantity is coming from the spot market, it will take some days to arrive. We are hoping that the expected arrival of the product will make a lasting impact.”
Similarly, the Managing Director/CEO, 11 Plc, Adetunji Oyebanji, who noted that the nation would require many days to recover from the fuel shortage, said: “The problem is now mainly operational. The system was starved of fuel for many days because of bad product disruption. Now, we have been loading continuously since last Monday. Certainly, the situation will be better in Lagos by Monday this week (today). But, it might take more days to ease in Abuja and other parts of the nation, due to trucks’ travel time, bad roads and other issues.”
Meanwhile, the shortage has culminated in sharp practices, including diversion of product, smuggling, meter adjustment and hawking at high prices.
Checks by Vanguard, yesterday, showed that it was only the state-owned stations and the major marketers that sell the product at N162 or N165 per litre regulated price.
The independents, who got their supplies at between N165 and N175 per litre, sell it at between N180 and N200 per litre, while illegal retailers sell theirs at between N200 and N500 per litre, depending on location.
Commenting on the situation, Osatuyi, said: “These are abnormal times. It is difficult to control marketers who source their products at different prices. They also have the right to sell them at different prices to recover costs.”
However, the management of some filling stations seized the opportunity to force sale of some products, including insecticides, before dispensing fuel to motorists.
The trend was noticed in Alimosho area of Lagos State as early as 7:00 am on Saturday, along Egbeda-Ikotun Road when a filling station was seen making it compulsory for motorists to buy insecticide.
The development led to protest by some motorists who could not afford the condition attached, while desperate motorists took advantage of the situation to pull out of long queues to gain entrance through the exit gate to buy fuel.