DESPITE the engagement of the Department of State Services (DSS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to end sharp practices and ensure that fuel is available, some major and independent marketers have continued to sell the product above the official pump and ex-depot prices, according to The Guardian’s investigation.
The Guardian found that the prevailing increase in the retail price of fuel across the country is as a result of the activities of some unscrupulous depot owners and major marketers who sell fuel to various retailers at prices higher than the official ex-depot price of N77.66k.
It was discovered that some marketers are determined to frustrate government’s effort to ensure the availability of the product at filling stations due to the unpaid subsidy claims.
It was learnt that some filling stations have engaged in bribing officers of the DPR to prevent them from imposing necessary sanctions on them for hoarding the product.
As at yesterday too, some filling stations which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) claimed to have been regularly supplied PMS, were not selling at all, while the few selling had long queues of vehicles and jerry cans waiting for the product.
Virtually all filling stations in Ikorodu , Ikotun Iyana Ipaja and Agege areas of Lagos sold above the regulated price as at yesterday.
For example, a filling station along Ajegunle in Ikorodu sold at N120 per litre, while other filling stations in Ikorodu sold at N130 per litre. Some of the filling stations belonging to major marketers, which were selling at N87 per litre had long queues.
On the current scarcity of fuel, the Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf called for the deregulation of the downstream sector.
According to Yusuf, deregulation will allow free resources for investment in critical infrastructure such as electricity, roads, the rail systems, health sector and education . He noted that fixing infrastructure would greatly improve productivity and efficiency in the economy and impact positively on the welfare of the people. He said that adequate infrastructure would boost private investment in the downstream oil sector especially in petroleum product refining.
“This will ultimately reduce importation of petroleum products and ease the pressure on the foreign exchange market as well as foreign reserves. It will eliminate the rampant patronage, rent-seeking activities and corruption that currently characterise the downstream oil sector. It will create more jobs for the teeming youth of the country in the downstream oil sector as investment in the sector improves.”