The President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Festus Osifo has explained the reasons behind the recent fuel scarcity experienced across Nigeria.
Osifo, during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, identified the issue of ‘bridging funds’ between the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and truck drivers who deliver the Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) as central to the problem.
He said: “The NMDPRA are the ones administering a bridging fund. At a particular time, they agreed with truck drivers that the bridging fund is going to be about N10 per litre depending on the destination you’re going to all over the country.
“As at when they agreed, the cost of diesel was about N250 so it was fashionable and the N10 was a bit okay but today, the cost of diesel is over N700. It has tripled. So, the expectation from the tanker drivers is that since the cost has gone up, instead of paying me N10.40 as the case may be, you have to multiply it by three.
“At the end of the day, that is the first problem.”
According to Osifo, there are at least two billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, available contrary to the belief that the product is scarce.
“As at today, we have close to 2 billion litres of PMS, so the problem is not the stock,” he said.
He explained that while the stock is available, most of the truck drivers are not willing to move these products “because of the previous problem I just enumerated”.
“One of the issues again is that today, NNPC is the sole importer of PMS, so they import PMS into the country, and this PMS is brought to the high sea. So they rent some smaller vessels to bunker the PMS and take it to the various tank farms or depots.
“So, if it’s the NNPC depots and you are loading from the NNPC depots, you are going to pay about N148 as the ex-depot price. But some of the PMS are also stored in private depots and those private depots don’t sell to the retailers for N148; they add some premium to it. At the end of the day, they sell between N152, N155, N160 and N162.
“So, if they sell at that amount, it will now be difficult for the retailer to go and sell at the same amount.”
For over one month, between February and March 2022, Nigerians experienced fuel scarcity as a result of the importation of contaminated fuel which was later taken off the market.
So, the current fuel scarcity is the second time Nigerians would experience it this year.