The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in a move to combat fuel scarcity, has yesterday said it would sell petroleum products directly to marketers.

The move was allegedly aimed at eliminating middlemen in the chain.

A meeting of the committee of stakeholders set up at the Presidential Villa reportedly took the decision yesterday.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, chaired the meeting at his office yesterday.

They predicated their decision on the rising price of crude oil which led to the increases price of petrol.

Although the NNPC is supposed to supply 50 per cent of the products to complement the marketers, no other group is able to import petrol now because of the price.

Its landing cost is N171 per litre and the Federal Government has said nobody should sell above N145.

The marketers stopped importing the product, making NNPC the sole importer since the removal of Petrol Support Fund (PSF) also known as subsidy.

A source close to yesterday’s meeting said: “We have already told them that it is only the NNPC that will be able to import the PMS.  The marketers cannot import the PMS because of the cost of the crude oil.

“This has also caused the price of the PMS to increase. Thus, if the marketers import it at the rate at which they are selling it now, automatically they cannot sell it at N145 per litre.”

The Federal Government, it was learnt, resolved to supply products directly to the independent marketers to remove the middlemen in the distribution chain and reduce the cost of the petrol.

Owing to the decision, the Federal Government has removed the intermediary tDepot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), from who the independent marketers were getting the fuel.

One of the fundamental decisions that the meeting arrived at was that there will be no increase in the price of the petrol.

The Nation learnt that the minister raised a committee to look into the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) scarcity that crippled transportation in the country in December last year.

The source said that: “The discussion was how to make the fuel available nationwide.”

The have formed a committee from today’s meeting to look into how to solve this fuel problem.

“They told us that instead of a triple arrangement, they will be giving independent marketers their products directly. This is to enable us get our product directly and sell at the pump price. This is instead of passing it through DAPPMA to IPMAN,” the source said.

The Chairman, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), Mr. Dapo Abiodun, raised hope that petrol supply will soon stabilie.

He told The Nation that government and marketers were talking and issues being resolved. He said four vessels laden with petrol were discharging at the Lagos port.

“We are still in meeting but update on the ongoing supply situation will come as a surprise as it should not be the case as people think. There are four vessels discharging in Lagos as we speak,” he told The Nation.

However, many filling stations that were selling petrol on Tuesday in Lagos shut down operations on Wednesday in anticipation that government/marketers dialogue would end in pump price hike.



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