Marketers kick as NNPCL delays fuel supply
Oil marketers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria have berated the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for alleged delay in the supply of petroleum products.
As a result, the marketers said they had been forced to boycott the NNPCL to source fuel from private depot owners at a higher cost.
In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, the National Vice President of IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, asked the Federal Government to review the current distribution pattern with a view to giving priority to IPMAN members.
According to him, independent marketers own 80 per cent of the filling stations in Nigeria and, as such, deserve the “lion share” in fuel allocation.
Fashola said, “More so, we buy products from NNPCL cash and carry. We don’t enjoy any credit facility with the NNPCL. There are times we pay for products, and you don’t get the products for two or three months. You have your money in the coffers of the NNPCL, which means they are trading with our money.
“If I am not exaggerating, we should be talking of over N300bn, when you consider the number of marketers all over Nigeria. Our money is always there trapped, while we keep struggling to get fuel.
He narrated that marketers usually pay through the NNPCL portal with the hope of getting the product in two three days; but “that two three days will turn into months if they don’t have products or they are out of stock, you have to wait, and your money will be there.”
Fashola emphasised that IPMAN members “have our money in billions in the NNPCL wallet. Apart from that, we have invested so much, especially the northern marketers, now their money is trapped, in billions. They cannot even afford to buy products again because of that money there”.
He lamented that some marketers, who borrowed from banks could not pay back their loans, stating that many operators were being forced to put up their stations for sale “to offset debts because marketers are going through a lot.
He stated further that, “When NNPCL open their portal and you pay in, with the hope of getting your product soon. In the process, there will be delay; maybe you pay for two trucks and you could not get it in three weeks or one month, you cannot leave your station idle. You will be forced to go to private depot and buy, just to wet your station. If the product is flowing, nobody will go to private depot.”
Fashola said the association was communicating with the NNPCL on the trapped capital.
“We are always in touch with the NNPCL. We have a communication channel. When they receive, they give the little they can give. One thing we discovered through our interaction with them is that they have their own constraints too. With the sharing formula with the passing of the PIA, they are only entitled to 30 per cent, because they are trying to avoid monopoly of market, that’s a problem on their own side too.
“If they get 30 per cent, and out of the 30 per cent, they are giving IPMAN, there will be problems. They have their retail outlets too. They have acquired Oando and the stations they got from Oando are not less than 900, this in addition to the ones they have before. But I believe they must do something about their sharing formula. If we have to take from the NNPCL, I think they have to increase what they are giving the NNPC Retail.
When contacted, the NNPCL spokesman, Femi Soneye, said he was not aware of any IPMAN fund trapped in the NNPCL account.
According to him, IPMAN has an appropriate channel through which it communicates with the company.
Soneye requested that whoever makes such allegations should provide evidence.
“I am not aware of anything like that. IPMAN has an appropriate channel through which they communicate with us. Whoever makes that allegation in IPMAN should provide the evidence. We still had a meeting with IPMAN today (Monday) and nothing of such was mentioned,” he told our correspondent in a telephone conversation.