Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has called on members of the public to avoid panic buying of petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, assuring that there is enough stock of the product to keep the entire country wet for 23 days.
The Corporation gave assurance against the backdrop of emerging queues noticed at filling stations in most parts of the country, arising from reports of impending adjustments in pump price of petroleum products.
According to Group General Manager Group Public Affairs of NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe in a statement yesterday, said the recent meeting of the management of the corporation with members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, to rally them for the uninterrupted fuel supply policy of the administration, has set up a monitoring team at the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, to check sharp practices that could breach the distribution and supply system.
He put the quantity of petrol stock in its depots across the country at 927,461,000 litres, which is enough to serve the country for the next 23 days if no drop of the product is imported within the period.
It warned marketers not to engage in products hoarding and diversion as the PPMC monitoring team is empowered to sanction anyone found defaulting in those regards.
The Corporation also reiterated its call on members of the Nigerian public to discountenance the rumour of the reduction of the pump price of petrol to N57 per litre, adding that the price of the product remains N87 per litre.
Most filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, locked up shops yesterday, forcing long and agonising queues as motorists waited in vain to purchase fuel.
Aside from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC mega stations in Area 10 and elsewhere which opened for business, many other filling stations declined to dispense fuel even as motorists queued patiently in the hope that they would eventually resume business with the resultant traffic lock jam around areas of their operation.
Though officials of these stations declined comments, a staff of one of the major marketers in the Central Business District claimed that they had to close shop temporarily until certain “logistics issues were cleared by the Federal Government”.
Further, he said they were acting on “directive from above”, following alleged ongoing discussions between the federal government, marketers, and industry unions and other stakeholders over the likelihood of pump price adjustment.
A manager in one of the stations located in Wuse Zone 3 confirmed that they indeed received directive to close shop pending when some issues will be resolved between the marketers and agents of the federal government.
He expressed the fears that the issues would have far-reaching adverse effect on their business if the government does not come clear with its policy on pump price regime, adding that it was the need to understand the direction of the latest discussion of matters in the oil sector that forced the temporary closure of their stations.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that mid-last year, the Federal Government had, in reaction to the drop in price of oil in the international market, slashed the pump price of petrol from N97 to N87, a development that the marketers were reluctant to adopt until the government wielded the big stick.
We learnt yesterday that the Federal Government may be contemplating a further slash as a deliberate policy to bring relief to the citizens who have endured hardships arising from scarcity of funds in the system, backlog of salary arrears and unpleasant economic activities.
Though it could not be confirmed, some fuel station operators alleged that the federal government wants to reduce the petrol pump price to around N60, following the reactivation of the local refineries which have boosted availability of the product for domestic consumption.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that Warri and Port Harcourt refineries have resumed production while the Kaduna refinery is expected to swing into action in November.

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