According to PUNCH. tankers loading petrol from depots in Apapa, Lagos are currently paying between N90 and N110 per litre instead of the N82 before the advent of the current scarcity of the product in the market. This, according to market sources, is the reason behind the high prices for which the product is selling at filling stations across the country.
Since the National Association of Road Transport Owners and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers’ arm of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers called off their strike, which was called to protest the debts owed their members by the petroleum product marketers, nearly all the filling stations have refused to sell petrol at the official pump price of N87 per litre.
The product is currently being sold for between N150 and N200 per litre.
The Chairman, NUPENG, Lagos Zone, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, confirmed to PUNCH in a telephone interview that loading of products from the depots had been intensive since the strike was called off. This, however, has not led to the normalisation of the price at the depots. Korodo described the flow of product at the depots as seamless, saying, “For us now, loading is done 24 hours of the day. We are also doing overnight loading to ensure more products get to Nigerians.”
A marketer, who belongs to the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity, however, said the supply of petrol “is not much currently”. According to him, tankers are being attended to on a first-come-first-serve basis owing to the excess demand situation, which currently characterises downstream operations.
Commenting on the high prices for which the product is being sold at the depots, the source said, “It will be difficult to regulate the market now because we have an abnormal situation. Fixing the N82 per litre price for petrol at the depots is not feasible now. It will take some time before it will be business as usual.”
Marketers of petroleum products said on Tuesday that the current petrol supply challenge would continue throughout the week. They also confirmed that loading of petrol had resumed across board with members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and DAPPMA driving the exercise.
But they told PUNCH that because of the May 29 public holiday, the supply hitch was likely to prevail till next week because there would not be product loading on Friday and Saturday. It was also gathered that Folawiyo, Capital Oil and Nipco were championing overnight loading of petrol at the Apapa depots.