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Marketers summon emergency meeting over fuel scarcity

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As fuel scarcity deepens across the country, marketers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have said their National Executive Council (NEC) would be meeting officially on Monday to find a lasting solution to the problem.

Speaking exclusively with Sunday PUNCH on Saturday, the National President of IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, said that Monday’s meeting became expedient following the prevalence of fuel scarcity despite recent aggressive moves by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd (NNPCL).

Fashola told PUNCH that the NNPCL, which is the sole importer of petroleum products in the country, opened up its reserves in all existing depots across the country on Friday in a bid to ease off the long queues at the fuel stations.

Even before then, the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria had in a statement confirmed receiving 300 million litres of fuel from eight vessels during the week, which it said has been distributed to its members in Apapa and other locations in Lagos.

Earlier, the South-West Regional Coordinator of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Ayo Cardoso, had also said that aside from the 240 million litres offloaded at various depots on Monday, close to 85 million litres of petrol was offloaded as of Tuesday evening.

Speaking to our PUNCH on Saturday, Fashola said the Monday meeting is to assess how far the recent moves have gone in addressing the scarcity of petroleum products across the country and that the oil marketers would further engage the NNPC with outcomes of the meeting.

“We are meeting on Monday officially with other marketers. We are working closely with NNPCL. The Monday meeting is for our National Executive Council. After the meeting, we will reach out to the NNPCL. We talk with them every day”, he stated.

On the likely subject of the Monday meeting, he said, “It will be to assess the present situations. We evaluate what we have done so far. We will look at what is happening in the cities; assess the situations to know what to do again”.

“The meetings we have been having with the NNPCL are in collaboration, which we have been doing. If you notice, yesterday (Friday), NNPCL opened up their reserves in all the depots throughout the federation. And we are working with them to ensure that everywhere is wet so that this thing (scarcity) can disappear.

“I want to commend NNPCL for their proactive measures. We are equally giving them the necessary support we are supposed to give them as oil marketers. I want to use this opportunity to appeal to members of the public to stop panic buying. They should buy what they need. Once they buy what they need, you will see that the long queues will disappear. So we are trying to discourage that (hoarding)”, he stated.

Meanwhile, the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) on Saturday held a meeting with other independent marketers in a bid to end the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.

Speaking with Sunday PUNCH, PETROAN, Dr Billy Gilly-Harry, said aside from developing new ways to prevent hoarding of petroleum products in the country, the meeting was held to also discuss how the products can directly get to Nigerians, including those in the rural areas at the given official rate.

“The meeting cut across all the associations. NNPCL has already called us and discussed it with us. We have had meetings with them. So last night’s meeting had nothing to do with NNPCL. It is about how to apply the solutions they have provided. And that is why you heard me talk very confidently that the solution (To the fuel scarcity) is in the corner”, he said.

“The good news is that this is a new reality. And it is going to bring better solutions because when you have NNPCL doing what they have to do, and we also doing what we have to do, the result will be fantastic. If you go to Abuja today, you will see that the queues have eased off. In the South-South and South-East, those who have been selling products as high as N670, we are bringing them to the book”, he added.

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