The Chairman of Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), Mr Dapo Abiodun, has revealed that the marketers can no longer import and still sell fuel at a control price of N145 per liter.
” Since the price of crude is directly proportional to refined product, we could not import petrol and sell at N145 any more, he said after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari on Tuesday at the Villa.
“Today’s meeting was called at the instance of the chief of staff to the president and it was to find out exactly what happened, why we had the problems we had in December with the supply of petrol and how Nigerians were made to go through the pains and suffering.
“We explained that the problem that you saw is not willful on the part of anyone either NNPC or marketers. The situation from our point of view is that from January to December, the price of crude remained relatively stable but flowing the hurricane Katrina in the month of September October, crude prices went up and marketers lost the ability to import any sell at N145 per liter. And this business is a partnership between marketers and NNPC. Marketers bring in a certain volume and NNPC also brings in a certain volume.
Abiodun, who has just been appointed chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission, said no marketer hoarded petroleum products, adding that since Katrina last September, the price of crude went up.
“He wanted to know the truth and to ensure that going forward this problem will be solved once and for all. And that is why you saw that we sat in here from 2pm and the meeting just finished after three and half hours.
“A lot of issues were raised and a committee was constituted that will meet tomorrow under the chairmanship of the minister of petroleum to further go into the nitty gritty and to ensure that these problems do not reoccur again.
“From our point of view as marketers, we made our submission known to government and we emphasized the fact that this was not a marketer-related problem. There was no hoarding on the part of any marketer. Marketers are your brothers, they are Nigerian citizens, they are businessmen, no marketer makes money from hoarding petroleum products, our business is to take petrol and sell.
“In the past marketers bring in about 60% while NNPC brings about 35 to 40 per cent. But by the month of October, marketers completely stopped importing because there is no more subsidy so we can’t sell for profit so we have to stop importing. So the burden of importing 100% now fell on NNPC. So you can imagine a situation where NNPC was importing in part and marketers were importing in part and then suddenly NNPC begins to import 100%. Couple with the fact that in the months we called the ember months from October to December the consumption of petrol is highest in the country, so you now have what we called a double warning.
“NNPC is suddenly finding its importing what they probably didn’t expect in terms of volume and the fact that Nigerians themselves are consuming more volume that they will normally consume in earlier months. Couple with the fact that the countries that are surrounding us as a nation are all selling fuel at more than $1 per liter. $1 today is about N360 If you go to Cotonou, Ghana, Niger so is is not unlikely that some of our petrol is finding itself across the body to these countries.
Asked if the issue of subsidy which seems to be at the core of the problem was discussed, Abiodun said, “Well, like I said to you there is no subsidy at the moment.
“The government in its wisdom has decided that the N145 cap will remain because of what they consider will be consequences on Nigerians. This is a government of the people and they believe Nigerians should not be made to buy fuel for more than N145.
“All these are issues we believe amounted to what we saw in December but thankfully NNPC rose to the occasion, they stepped up import, stepped up supplies that situation has since normalized.
“Today’s meeting is to ensure that this does not happen again and this we are going to continue tomorrow in the committee that was set up under the chairmanship of the minister of state for petroleum to ensure that we find a long lasting and enduring solutions to this problem so that Nigerians will not have to go through this borrowing situation again.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government Tuesday set up a committee headed by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu to find lasting solution to the fuel scarcity that saw Nigerians go through a lot of pain during the yuletide season.
The committee was set up at the end of the three and half hours meeting headed by Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, which had in attendance all stakeholders in the oil sector on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Other members of the committee which will continue its meeting today at the minister’s office are the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, most parastatals under the ministry, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, (IPMAN), Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), labour unions (NLC and TUC), among others.