Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called gasoline, is still in short supply which is why it sells for above 250 N/litre in several places outside the main cities of Abuja and Lagos, oil traders said on Wednesday.

It also emerged that independent dealers, who operate more than 85 percent of gas stations across the country, were still finding it difficult to access PMS, as many of them had decided to stop buying the product from depot owners. private.

This is because many private depots source the product at the regulated price of N148/litre, but sell to service stations for more than N200/litre, making it difficult for retailers to dispense at the approved pump price of between N179 and N180. /liter.

However, the federal government, through its Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, is striving to stem the high cost of PMS in depots, having sealed off seven of them recently for dispensing at outrageous prices.

Oil traders said on Wednesday that the product was still in short supply despite interventions by the NMDPRA, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Department of State Services.

The secretary of the Independent Association of Oil Marketers of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, told our correspondent that although the problem in the downstream oil sector had been identified, it had not been resolved.

Shuaibu added: “DSS has intervened, as have NMDPRA and NNPC, but so far no solution is in sight. Allow those who have the supply chain across the country to access this product.

“About 85 percent of the supply chain is controlled by independent marketers. They operate in the interior and own most of the gas stations that are directly closest to what the grassroots want.

“If you say that Nipco, Matrix or Capital Oil have been designated for independent traders to pick up product at the regulated price, when they get the product, I can assure you that within a week, all the queues will be gone.”

The IPMAN official continued, “As it stands now, you can drive to a retail outlet in the city centers of Abuja and Lagos and get the product at a controlled price. But the moment you drive out of Abuja or Lagos, you are faced with a calamity in terms of price.

This, according to Shuaibu, was because the product was still in short supply.

“If there is a surplus, it will force the cost down, but when the demand is high and the product is not available, the law of supply and demand will take its course,” he said.

Scarce SPM-IPMAN

It followed that the NNPC should devise an initiative – Customer Express, through which it ensured that independent marketers accessed gasoline directly from the national oil company.

But traders claimed that this initiative had yet to resolve constraints associated with the supply of petroleum products, due to the difficulty they faced in trying to access raw material through the scheme.

“As I speak to them, even independent marketers who have NNPC Customer Express approval, it takes two to three weeks before they get the product,” Shuaibu said.

He added: “Some of my members in Abuja who have been given this Customer Express ticket, have made payments, been acknowledged and for almost two weeks have not collected their goods. So how can the problem be solved?

The Customer Express ticket allows the independent marketer to purchase the product directly from NNPC at the approved price, instead of obtaining it from a private warehouse at a higher price.

Shuaibu said, “The new managing director of NNPC Retail is trying his best and it has been wonderful. When those who have these Express Clients apply, he approves. But when he approves it, getting the product becomes a problem. We don’t know what’s happening again.”

Declined private deposits

The IPMAN official said the association had ordered its members to boycott private deposits.

“Honestly, I have instructed all my members not to even patronize (private deposits) again, because by the time they buy there, they will have a hard time dealing with the fact that their pump price is being regulated,” he said. . he said she.

“This is where we want the NMDPRA to come in. You should find out why products are not released despite approvals. We want a particular place to be designated where we can access the products and I assure you that if this is done, within a week, the issue of shortages will be over.”

NMDPRA chief executive Farouk Ahmed said on Saturday that the authority was making efforts to address concerns in the downstream sector, as it had clamped down on some depots that dispensed gasoline above the regulated rate.