As long fuel queues creep back across the country, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) has blamed the current fuel shortage on the Federal Government and sabotage by owners of private tank farms.
This is in spite of the Federal Government’s approval of N413 billion to settle subsidy debt.
Specifically, IPMAN accused private tank farm owners of hoarding petrol and selling only to those willing to pay N95 for a litre instead of the regulated price of N77.66 kobo.
The association’s chairman in Ibadan, Oyo State ,Alhaji Olakunle Busari told newsmen the independent marketers were facing serious challenges in their bid to lift fuel at the regulated price.
Also, the chairman of IPMAN, Lagos Satellite Depot, Ejigbo, Lagos State, Alhaji Alanamu Ayo Balogun has exonerated their members of blame over the scarcity of fuel and hike in fuel prices.
He rather blamed the Federal Government for not releasing the funds it said it had approved as subsidy payments to relevant importers.
The Guardian gathered the scarcity is as a result of the government’s inability to make the money available as earlier promised.
Some marketers who spoke with The Guardian expressed displeasure over government’s inability to release the money, therefore, their resolve to stop loading fuel at the depots.
One of the marketers alleged that no marketer has been able to get the money through the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Busari had explained that it would not be in the economic interest of any independent marketer to refuse to sell petrol at N87 regulated pump price if supplied by the NNPC because they have bank loans and salaries of workers to pay.
“As of today, the NNPC depot that services Oyo and Osun states has not loaded a single litre of fuel in the last four months. As a result of this, IPMAN members are forced to patronise private depot operators in Lagos who sell to us at exorbitant prices. If we add the cost of transportation and other depot expenses to the price we buy in Lagos, it makes it virtually impossible for us to sell as the official pump price. ”
In a statement in Lagos yesterday, Balogun also warned that if the Federal Government fails to release the subsidy money on time to allow the importers import the petroleum products on time, the fuel scarcity would worsen during the Christmas and New Year festivities.