By Adedapo Adesanya
As fuel queues return to major cities in Nigeria, straining daily commute and activities, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has explained the reasons.
In an interview with Channels Television, the Lagos Zonal Chairman of IPMAN, Mr Akin Akinrinade, stated that the rationale behind the fuel scarcity is a result of the operating environment which has become hostile to their businesses.
Mr Akinrinade specifically stated that the petroleum marketers were not on strike as feared but have found it difficult to operate considering the dependence on diesel whose price has skyrocketed.
“Members of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria have shut down their stations not because we are striking; we are not on strike,” he said.
“Rather, the business environment has been very hostile to us such that we can no longer do business under this condition. For you to load a litre of petrol, you pay N162 per litre,” he added.
The IPMAN official was quick to say the situation had nothing to do with the removal of subsidy or deregulation of the petroleum sector.
He listed the high cost of buying petrol at the depots, the high cost of diesel for running their station and the increased cost of freight as the major factors responsible.
Mr Akinrinade stressed that it was no longer feasible to sell the product at the recommended price of N165 to a litre, adding that the landing cost of petrol was between N175 to N178 to a litre.
“You now have to add the cost of transportation which is between N6 to N8, depending on the distance within Lagos,” he explained. “If it is outside Lagos, it is much more than that.”
“So, if you add N8 to N162, you already have N170 and the government which is the regulator wants us to sell at N165; we have not even added the charges at the depot and the running cost at our stations.
“You know what diesel says now, and you know how epileptic power supply is; we run on generator, using diesel at N800 per litre. There is no station in Lagos that uses less than 50 litres (of diesel) per day.
“So, our members can no longer sell (petrol) at N165 per litre; in fact, there is no reasonable person in this business that can sell below N180 per litre, so it is not as if we are on strike,” he concluded.
Business Post observed the presence of long queues across major fuel stations in the Agege and Ifako-Ijaiye areas of Lagos State.
Commuters across this route are also forced to pay extra fares for transportation with prices increased by 25 per cent.
For drivers, they told Business Post they need to pay a bribe of about N500 to petrol attendants to be able to get fuel on time.
One of them, Mr John Junior, a Bolt driver, said, “I didn’t stay long at NNPC but I had to settle them for N500.”