Fuel scarcity to linger as depot owners threaten to shut down operations

While Nigerians across many states continue to grapple with the 3-month long on and off availability of petrol at the official price, the situation appears to be far from following a threat by depot owners.

Fuel scarcity

On Tuesday, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, gave the federal government a 14-day ultimatum to settle a N650 billion debt allegedly owed its members.

Although the state-owned NNPC is currently the sole importer of petrol, a situation analysts have blamed for the unending scarcity, the NNPC has no major depots of its own and relies on DAPPMAN and other marketers to store the imported petroleum products.

In a statement by its Executive Secretary, Olufemi Adewole, DAPPMAN said failure to meet the deadline will force its members to disengage their workers.

Mr. Adewole said his had no other option to solve the problem of increasing debt burdens of borrowing to pay staff than to immediately commence massive staff disengagement.

“The unfortunate primary fallout of this step is the likely shut down of all DAPPMAN depots nationwide due to lack of manpower to operate same pending the time the federal government will pay off its indebtedness to petroleum marketers.

“This unfortunately will have a multiplier effect on the nationwide supply and distribution of petroleum products which presently is still a struggle,’’ he said.

Mr. Adewole said that a letter was written to the presidency on January 24 but government failed to respond to the plight of petroleum marketers, many of whom have become financially insolvent.

“We are continually under pressure from our banks/AMCON, with looming threats of imminent take-over of our petrol stations and tank farms.
“In the light of the above and after exhausting all formal avenues to secure payment of these debts, we have given government notice to the likelihood of disengaging our personnel.

“The unfortunate primary fallout of this step is the likely shut down of all DAPPMAN depots nationwide due to lack of manpower to operate same pending the time the government will pay off its indebtedness to petroleum marketers.

“This unfortunately will have a multiplier effect on the nationwide supply and distribution of petroleum products which presently is still a struggle,’’ he said.

The current petrol scarcity across the country has been on for about three months. It has reduced in Abuja and Lagos for the past two days, but in most other states, users are made to buy at about N200 per litre instead of the official N145 per litre price.

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