Mr Osatuyi said the government was finding it challenging to continue subsidising the price of petrol and advised that the downstream of the petroleum sector be fully deregulated.
The Independent Petroleum Association of Nigeria (lPMAN) has attributed the current fuel scarcity to the unavailability of petroleum products and difficulty accessing foreign exchange by marketers.
Mike Osatuyi, the operations controller of lPMAN, made the remarks in an interview in Lagos on Sunday.
“We are experiencing scarcity because the product is not available,” he said. “The price of a litre of petrol at private depots is currently between N205 and N210 as against N162.50.”
He alleged that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had stopped importing enough petrol to meet demand in the country.
“The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd. is the sole importer of refined petroleum products, which are not readily available to marketers,” he said.
Mr Osatuyi explained that his members bought petrol at over N200 per litre from private depots, making it impossible for them to sell at a regulated pump price.
“When we add the cost of transportation and levies, it will run into N217 per litre. At what prices do you want marketers to sell, knowing fully well that we are in business to make a profit?
“My members are groaning over the increase in the cost of petrol from the depot, and they suffer a lot to get it.
“If fuel is there, why will we not sell, but there is no fuel. Our members are selling petrol between N230 and N240 per litre at filling stations,” he added.
Mr Osatuyi said the government was finding it challenging to continue subsidising the price of petrol and advised that the downstream of the petroleum sector be fully deregulated as a permanent solution to the problem.
He urged the government to allow the private sector to import petrol, as is the case with aviation fuel, diesel, and kerosene.
Collaborating with Mr Osatuyi’s views, a marketer, who preferred not to be mentioned, said NNPCL was having challenges importing refined products due to liquidity constraints.
According to the marketer, all marketers, IPMAN, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), are struggling to get products from NNPCL, the sole supplier.
The marketers said the scarcity of foreign exchange also posed a serious challenge and that the Direct Purchase and Direct Supply (DPDS) option had crashed.
According to him, the high forex rate currently at N800 to a dollar also posed a serious challenge to importation.
“Talking about Lagos, that is where most of the (PMS) vessels come. When the mother vessel comes into the state, its products will be distributed by daughter vessels to ports in Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt, etc.
“These daughter vessels are hired by independent private tank farm owners or private depot owners, who pay vessel charges in dollars.
“Some of them source dollars in the open market. So, the dollar also determines the price of products.”
“Now, you cannot expect them to sell PMS at N184/litre when the price of hiring a vessel has risen from 38,000 dollars to around 108,000 dollars to 111,000 dollars, depending on the type of vessel. These charges are paid in dollars.”
He added that the cost of chartering daughter vessels to move products from the mother vessel to the Private Depot Owners (PDOs) has jumped within months due to issues around the hike in diesel cost, foreign exchange concerns, and other industry problems.
He said the ex-depot price had gone above N205 per litre due to insufficient volume of petrol to supply the entire market by NNPCL.