The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Sunday in Sokoto said that non payment of transport claims by the Federal Government to marketers is one of the reasons for the incessant fuel scarcity in some parts of the country.
Alhaji Sule Magaji, the Sokoto State Chapter Chairman of the Association, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that the high cost of diesel used by fuel tankers is an additional reason responsible for the scarcity of fuel.
”Most of the marketers, including those in Sokoto state were being owed between N10million to N100million, for a period of six months to one year.
”We are however happy with the recent approval by President Muhammadu Buhari for the payment of over N150billion of such outstanding claims,’ ‘Magaji said.
He also called for speedy release of the approved funds, while urging that the process should be transparent.
“The high cost of diesel is also another cog in the wheel of our business, hence, making it difficult to transport the commodity from Lagos to Sokoto, as well as other parts of the north.
”For instance, before now, the transport cost of a 33,000 litre-tanker from Lagos to Sokoto was between N420,000 to N 460,000.
”Unfortunately, it has now gone up to between N 550,000 to N 600,000 and it is taking its heavy toll on us,’’ Magaji said.
He further lamented that the constant importation of petroleum products was also inhibiting the efforts to turn-around the local refineries to make them fully functional.
Magaji called on the federal government to sustain its efforts in revamping the nation’s refineries, to stop the heavy dependence on importation of petroleum products.
”If this is urgently done, they will function effectively and all the depots across the country will become functional.
”This will make the petroleum products readily available across the country,as well as reduce the high demand for dollars,” Magaji, added
The Sokoto state government recently threatened to withdraw the Certificate of Occupancy of any marketer who hoarded petroleum products or sell above the government approved pump prices.
The state government also constituted an inter-agency task force on the sale and distribution of petroleum products. The Government said the task force would commence the sale of one million litres of petrol directly to the motorists per week.
All these measures were taken by the state government in the wake of the persistent scarcity of petrol in the last three weeks.
A litre of the commodity was being sold for between N 180 to N 200.
NAN however observed that the recent measures have started yielding dividends with the commodity becoming readily available at the pump price of N 145 in most of the major and independent marketers’ filling stations.
The chairman of the task force, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji on Saturday vowed to fully enforce all the laws guiding the sale and distribution of petroleum products across the state.