Despite assurance given by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that prices of petroleum products will be unchanged in February, major tank farms in some parts of the country are withholding petroleum products due to uncertainty of the ex-depot prices of petroleum products.
The withholding of the products, according to Chinedu Ukadike, National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), is because the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) is yet to come out with its price schedule for February due to an increase in the price of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as fuel or petrol, at private depots.
“The queues building up at filling stations show that the supply system has been disrupted a bit, but the spokesperson of NNPC is saying that they have 40 days sufficiency.
“And because the PPMC has not come out with its price schedule for February, this made tank farms to withhold products because they don’t know if price will increase or decrease. But definitely, it is going to increase,” Ukadike told the Punch.
The situation has led to queues building up at some filling stations in Abuja and Niger states, according to the publication.
Ukadike noted that as part of the ongoing engagement, the association is yet to resolve with PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC the various trends that have evolved in the sector such as buying products from other private depots and the issue of profiteering.
He said: “We met as regards the emerging trend in the downstream supply of petroleum products. We had a Central Working Committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday) where stakeholders looked at the trends.
“We were able to look at some of the policies and the introduction of e-payments by PPMC and the challenges therein, as well as the issue of buying products from other private depots and the profiteering in that section.”
But Kennie Obateru, the spokesperson of the NNPC, said the decision of the corporation to keep prices of petroleum products unchanged in February is to allow ongoing engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders to be concluded as regards an acceptable framework that would not expose Nigerians to hardship.