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    Saturday, January 2, 2016

    Marketers defy Buhari, sell petrol above N86.5 January 2, 2016

    Many filling stations across the country on Friday shunned the Federal Government’s directive on the new pump price for petrol as they continued to sell the product at either the old regulated price of N87 per litre or above it.
    The Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency on Tuesday announced that retail filling stations belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation would from Friday, January 1, 2016, sell petrol at N86 per litre, while other oil marketers would sell the product at N86.5 per litre.
    The PPPRA Executive Secretary, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, had stated that the reduction in the price of the commodity was due to an implementation of the revised components of the petroleum products pricing template for PMS and House Hold Kerosene.
    But findings by our correspondents on Friday revealed that many petrol stations in Abuja and neighbouring Kaduna and Nasarawa states as well as others in the South West, South South, North West, North Central and South East had yet to comply with the directive.
    Investigations also revealed that even NNPC stations were still selling the product at the old price. For instance, an NNPC mega station located in Kubwa, a popular satellite town in Abuja, displayed N87 as the selling price as against the stipulated N86 price when one of our correspondents visited the outlet on Friday afternoon.

    Although this particular station was not dispensing at the time of the visit, one of its workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the decision to sell the product for N87 per litre was because other outlets in the area were still selling petrol at the old price.
    The worker was not far from the truth as all the petrol stations in Kubwa were selling the product at N87.
    The Oando filling station opposite the NNPC in Kubwa was also selling for N87 per litre. Similarly, Total filling station on Arab Road and another popular outlet close to the Kubwa market sold petrol at the old N87 per litre price.

    In Zuba and Suleja, satellite towns on the outskirts of Abuja while heading to Kaduna, our correspondent observed that virtually all the stations in the area dispensed the product at N87.
    In Nyanya, Mararaba and Keffi, all in Nasarawa State, the price of petrol was still N87 per litre on Friday in most petrol stations visited.
    However, the NNPC mega station and NIPCO on the Abuja/Zuba Expressway complied with the new pricing regime, as both stations sold the product at N86 and N86.5 per litre respectively.
    An official of the Department of Petroleum Resources stated that the petrol stations had no choice but to comply with the directive.
    “Some of them may get away with it today, but it will surely be short-lived as monitoring by the DPR will kick off anytime from now, because it is a Federal Government directive and it must be upheld,” the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity noted.

    In Lagos State, the situation was not different as a popular filling station in Abule Egba area of Lagos sold petrol for N87 per litre.
    An attendant at the filling station, who declined to give her name, told one of our correspondents that she was directed by her boss to sell the product at N87 per litre. But about three filling stations located not too far away from there were not open for business.
    While majority of the filling stations around Ojodu in Lagos State were not selling fuel, the Conoil located around Toll Gate on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway was selling petrol for N87 per litre, with a relatively long queue.
    Also, at an NNPC mega station in Ikeja, Lagos State, petrol was sold for N87 despite the Federal Government’s directive.

    An official of the station, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was awaiting a new directive from the President in 2016 before selling at the stipulated N86 per litre.
    He said, “We are still selling at N87 here. I have not heard anything from the President this year, asking, “Have you heard from him?”
    In major cities in Ogun State, one of our correspondents observed that many filling stations were selling a litre of petrol for between N100 and N130.
    In Abeokuta, the state capital, major marketers like Conoil, Total and Forte were not opened to customers because they claimed that they did not have stock. But an NNPC mega station on Abiola Way in the state capital sold petrol for N86 per litre.
    But other independent marketers who were dispensing the product sold to motorists and other buyers at between N100 and N130 per litre.

    At Ebenfem filling station at Ita Eko, Abeokuta, motorists bought petrol for N120 per litre.
    The same scenario obtained at Supreme Petrol Station just after the Mechanic Village along Abeokuta-Lagos Expressway as a litre of petrol was sold at N110.
    In Sango-Ota axis, independent marketers dispensed a litre of petrol for between N100 and N130. At NNPC franchise filling stations at Oju Ore and Koro Otun respectively, they dispensed a litre of petrol for N100 and N120 respectively.
    At EMIMP filling station and Oando filling station along Sango-Idiroko Road, they sold a litre for N100 and N130 respectively.
    However, MRS filling stations in Abeokuta and Sagamu still sold the product for N87 per litre.
    In Osun State, marketers have yet to comply with the directive. In Osogbo, the state capital, one of our correspondents observed that petrol was not available for sale in most filling stations in the city as some fuel attendants said they could not adjust to the new price because they bought at higher price from the private depots.

    A former Treasurer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Western Zone, Mr. Shina Amoo, when contacted by one of our correspondents, said independent marketers could not comply with the directive on petrol price because they bought far higher than the approved price.
    He said, “I bought at N102 per litre yesterday (Thursday) and later I bought at N94.5 per litre. So you don’t expect anybody who bought at those prices to sell a litre for N86, it is not possible.
    “The price will continue to come down as the supply increases. The government will not need to force anybody to reduce the price; the forces of demand and supply will determine the price.”
    In Ondo State, only the NNPC mega stations and a few major marketers complied with the directive, while many independent marketers were still selling the product for N120 per litre. The situation was the same in Bayelsa State where attendants at filling stations on the popular Swali Road in Yenagoa displayed N87 per litre for the price of petrol on their pumps, but actually sold the product at N140 per litre. But NNPC mega stations in the state capital complied with the Federal Government’s directive.

    Independent marketers in Niger, Kwara and Kogi states have yet to adjust the pump price to the new approved rate as they were still dispensing at the old price. The Niger State Coordinator, DPR, Mr. Abdullahi Jankara, told one of our correspondents that he had not received any letter from the Federal Government on the new pump price of petrol.
    Asked why its members have yet to comply with the new directive, the Kwara State Chairman, IPMAN, Mr. Olanrewaju Okanlawon, said they were still buying petrol at the old rate of N66.70 plus other associated costs.
    The few filling stations which opened for business in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states sold petrol for N130 per litre.
    The situation was worse in Enugu State as independent marketers sold the product for between N150 and N160 per litre in most filling stations in the state. But a long queue was noticed at an NNPC mega station which sold it for N87.
    In Plateau State, most marketers claimed that they were not aware of the new pump price. The marketers, who declined to mention their names, said they had not received any clear directive on the new pricing system. In major cities such as Gboko, Kastina-Ala, Oturpko and Ukum in Benue State, the product was sold for N125, N150 and N165 respectively.

    In Oyo State, the situation remained the same as it was before January 1. The price of a litre of petrol varied from one filling station to the other but none of them sold at the government regulated price.
    Before the New Year Day, few filling stations had the product to sell. Majority of those who had the product were the independent marketers, who were selling a litre for prices ranging from between N125 and N140.
    On Friday, from Mokola area of Ibadan to Owode, along Ibadan/Abeokuta Expressway, a few stations had the product and they were adamant to sell above the new government pump price, hinging the decision on the inflated rate at which they bought the product in Lagos.
    The situation was the same in Bere, Oje, Oritamerin, Oke-Ado and Ring Road areas of the city.
    In Edo State, apart from the NNPC mega filling station on Sapele Road, which sold petrol at N86 per litre, many of the major and independent marketers sold above the official pump price of N86.50. For instance, at Asolyn filling station opposite the state civil service secretariat on Sapele Road and Total filling station on Airport Road, Benin, a litre of petrol was sold for N130.

    Petrol was sold at the rate of N130 per litre at the Total filling station in the same area.
    Also on Airport Road, independent marketers like Otopec, VOE and Jeroviedd fixed their pump prices at N135, N130 and N120 per litre, respectively.
    One of our correspondents noted in Asaba, Warri, Ogwashi-Uku, Ughelli and Ibusa – all in Delta State that the product was sold for between N130 and N150 per litre despite the Federal Government’s directive.
    In some filling stations where the product was sold for N130 per litre in the state, attendants collected minimum of N50 bribe from motorists before selling to them.
    Meanwhile, the PPPRA has vowed to sanction any filling station found flouting government’s directive.
    The Assistant General Manager/Head of Operations, PPPRA, Mr. Victor Shidok, threatened that the agency would withdraw licences of defaulters.

    Shidok, who led a team from the PPPRA to monitor the level of compliance with the directive in Abuja, warned that the government would not tolerate any deviation from the new directive.
    He said the monitoring, which was simultaneously going on across the country, was done in conjunction with the DPR to ensure that Nigerians were not shortchanged.
    Shidok stated that there was 100 per cent compliance as at press time in the city centre, but noted the team had yet to reach the outskirts where he feared that there might be challenges with regard to total compliance.
    He said, “The challenge may likely be in the outskirts. All those we have visited say they have received directive from their head offices. We are in touch with the leadership of oil marketers in the country. This is a nationwide exercise.”
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