Long queues of vehicles seeking to buy premium motor spirit, also known as petrol, emerged again at filling stations over the weekend in the federal capital city of Abuja.
Also, petrol sellers in jerry cans were seen at many corners of the city, raising anxiety for motorists and commuters of a an onset of another fuel scarcity.
Recall that Nigerians suffered a long spate of fuel scarcity from early February till last month, following the importation of the off specification fuel.
However, the group general manager, Corporate affairs department of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mallam Garba Deen Shehu has assured that this is a temporary situation because “we have enough supplies in the country.”
Petroleum marketers have attributed the emerging petrol queues in Abuja to failure of federal government to refund 12 months products bridging claims to them.
LEADERSHIP exclusively gathered that government has not paid marketers bridging claims in the last 12 months and the debt has risen to about N100 billion.
National president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association on Nigeria, IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, told LEADERSHIP that the queues being experienced curently is because many marketers are unable to buy products due to the huge debt.
“We are still loading but some marketers have shut down operations because they are highly indebted to the banks and cannot sustain operations. Only few are just operating and cannot satisfy current demand.” Okonkwo explained.
Abubakar Maigandi, vice president of the association said that they pay N1 million for 1,300 litres of diesel and government pay them N600,000 with shortfall of N400,000 and the accumulated debt is challenging their business.
Maigandi, said marketers buy a litre of diesel at the cost of N700 a liter and since there is no subsidy and government is not paying them it will be difficult to sustain the business.
He called for extension of intervention fund to resuscitate the diesel business or they stop further supply.
Meanwhile, Okoronkwo said an emergency meeting of marketers is scheduled for today Monday, to discuss the huge debt trapped at the Petroleum Equalization Fund. The outcome he said will determine marketers’ next line of action.
Meanwhile, the situation in Lagos remained calm as petroleum outlets have sustained supply.