The no love lost between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and depot owners took a new twist yesterday as owners of private depots declared that the corporation owes them N90 billion.
The corporation had earlier said that depot owners owe it N26.7 billion debt for fuel supplied to them.
Depot and Petroleum Product Marketers Association (DAPPMA), however, declared that its members have paid for petrol supply (with bank funds) for over one month, the value of which is in excess of N90 billion, which the corporation is yet to supply.
The Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, declared that: “It is an undisputable fact that DAPPMA members have paid for petrol supply (with bank funds) for over one month, the value of which is in excess of N90 billion, yet PPMC/NNPC had no cargo to allocate to them.
“As such, how can we be held responsible for hoarding? PPMC/NNPC does not transact business with DAPPMA members on credit; hence we are not aware of any indebtedness to PPMC/NNPC by our members. “We again reject any attempt to blame marketers for the shortfall in supply as it is not our making since NNPC has been the sole importer since October 2017.
“The marketers have continued to sacrifice to keep the country wet with fuel despite over N600 billion debt owed our members and over N800 billion owed marketers as a whole by the Federal Government. We assure Nigerians, irrespective of NNPC’s stance, that all possible steps are being taken as we have always done, to cooperate with PPMC/ NNPC to eliminate the fuel queues nationwide within the next few days.”
He said the essence of their initial ‘statement “was to throw light on salient issues surrounding the shortfall in current petrol supply which is presently solely handled by the NNPC. It was not an attempt to join issues with PPMC/NNPC with whom we are partners.”
“NNPC’s view of our press release stating our side of the story and seeking to defend marketers for the very first time, against the unwarranted accusations of hoarding and profiteering is rather unfortunate,” Adewole said. This came as the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) yesterday unleashed its Director, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, and others top management staff on private depots in Apapa during an impromptu inspection of the key tank farms and depots of some of their members.
In an operation showyour- depot, the DPR declared that the unscheduled visit was not only to unravel the errant depots that hoard product, but also to ensure no room for profiteering by ensuring strict adherence to the N133 per litre ex-depot price. The DPR inspection team visited Folawiyo Energy Limited and NIPCO tank Farm in Apapa.
Ladan assured Nigerians that the lingering scarcity of petrol being experienced across the country would come to an end in the next few days. Ladan said: “Petroleum products are coming in gradually; in most of the depots visited, some are being discharged, while there is assurance that some will come in again within 48 hours.
“I think with all we have seen now in the depots visited, petrol should be available in all filling stations across the country in few days’ time. The scarcity of petrol will soon ease out in days to come,” he assured Nigerians. Ladan appealed to the depots to focus more supply on the independent marketers’ filling stations, saying that they were most affected by scarcity of petrol.
He said that independent marketers have filling stations in most major locations in the country, and most of them had not received supply for weeks. The DPR inspection team visited Folawiyo Energy Ltd., and NIPCO Tank Farm in Apapa. At NIPCO, a vessel was discharging over 23 million litres of petroleum as at the time DPR team reached the tank farm. Mr. Taofeek Lawal, the Head, Corporate Communications of NIPCO, said that about 300 petroleum tankers were waiting to load the product.
Lawal said that with 23 million litres of petrol, the company would load over 600 tankers in two days. At Folawiyo Energy Ltd., Mr. Dipo Makanjuola said that the depot had about six million litres of petrol and had been operating 24 hours to ensure that Nigerians get the product