In a bid to arrest the current scarcity of premium motor spirit also known as petrol, the federal government recently approved the immediate payment of N413 billion to oil marketers as outstanding subsidy claims.

Ohi Alegbe, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in a statement said that  “It is our belief that with the outstanding payment due to the oil marketers now assured, the marketers and other downstream players will join hands with the NNPC to guarantee that the nation remains wet with petroleum products all year round”. The corporation also said it had stepped up measures to eliminate the noticeable fuel queues in petrol stations across some major cities in the country with the injection of additional volumes of PMS to enrich product availability in the affected areas.

According to the national oil company, the move is in line with its drive to ensure zero fuel queues ahead of the forthcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations and beyond, adding that it was working with its downstream subsidiary company, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), and other downstream players to consolidate the prevailing stability in the supply and distribution of fuel nationwide. “Apart from increasing the volume of products distributed to stations across the country, inspection teams from the PPMC have been commissioned to go round our operational areas to ensure compliance with laid down rules regarding loading and product evacuation across board to eliminate hoarding and other vices detrimental to the free flow of products,’’ it said.

The corporation noted that the initiative to ensure zero fuel queues had been bolstered with the payment approval to the marketers by the federal government. Prior to the announcement of the approval of the N413 billion arrears, majority of petroleum products marketers had converged on Abuja in anticipation of the payment. Olufemi Adewole, Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), recently confirmed that government had promised to offset some of the subsidy arrears by the first week of November.

The recent financial incapacitation of the marketers owing to mounting subsidy debts had put serious pressure on the NNPC to meet local demand for petrol, thereby prompting queues in some parts of Lagos and Ogun states, while stakeholders said the situation had dragged for weeks in Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Kwara states. Responding to the development, the Department of Petroleum Resources said in a statement that it had set up a 24-hour surveillance monitoring team of petrol stations nationwide to ensure unhindered sale of petroleum products at government regulated prices.

Maureen Nzeogu
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