A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, who went round to monitor situation in the city, reports that although the price is still remained high, motorist now drive into the stations easily to buy fuel.
The Chairman, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Dapo Abiodun, disclosed these to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.
He said the petrol stations, mostly in Abuja, were found to have diverted petrol supplied to them by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, the downstream subsidiary of the NNPC, for sale to the public. "We want to find lasting solution and that is what the committee will come out with in the resolutions tomorrow". Following the Hurricane Katrina in the month of September, October, crude prices went up and marketers lost the ability to import and sell at N145 per litre.
The minister disclosed further that as a result of the N26 difference per litre between the current landing cost of the product ( N171) and pump price of N145, NNPC which had been singularly importing the product at the volume of 25 million litres per day since October past year, has been incurring a daily loss of about N800-N900million, cumulatively reaching N85.5billion today, in just three months.
The Minister said there was no single evidence that marketers were hoarding petroleum products and as such, they could not be punished.
Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, has given reason why petroleum marketers allegedly responsible for hoarding fuel during the Yuletide season can't be punished by government. 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 than they'll normally consume in earlier months coupled with the fact that the countries that are surrounding us as a nation are all selling fuel at more than $1 per liter.
He said the ministry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were working round the clock to find a solution to petrol scarcity. "A lot of issues were raised and a committee was constituted that will meet today 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". "No marketer makes money from hoarding petroleum products, our business is to take petrol and sell". "From our point of view as marketers, we made our submissions known to government and we emphasized the fact that this was not a marketer-related problem". This is a government of the people and they believe Nigerians should not be made to buy fuel for more than N145.
He Insisted that independent marketers would not be able to import the product at the current foreign exchange rate since Naira presently exchanges for N365 per Dollar.
"Since the price of crude is directly proportional to the refined product, we could not import petrol and sell at N145 anymore".
"For now NNPC is the sole distributor, individual marketers can help and one marketer has been charged 127 million for going against the rules".