By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, has closed seven private depots from charging petrol above the federal government-approved N148 per litre.
Independent petroleum marketers had complained in recent months that they were buying the product for more than N200 a liter from the private depots, making it impossible for them to sell the product at the government-approved price.
Speaking to journalists on New Year’s Eve in Abuja, the Chief Executive of the Authority, Engr. Farouk Ahmed said the depots would remain closed until a decision is made on how to proceed.
He listed the companies including Ardova, Rainoil, TCL, Bluefin and NEPAL.
Engr. Ahmed said two of the depots are in Lagos, two in Warri, one in Oghara, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
He assured consumers that the closure would have some impact on the supply of petrol across the country, explaining that there is enough petrol for about 30 days.
He noted that as part of efforts to alleviate the fuel shortage, the Authority has made several agreements with the marketers on how to solve supply challenges faced by the operators.
However, he noted that despite obtaining the product on favorable terms, it was discovered that some private depots continued to charge the product above the government-approved price.
He said: “As government and regulators, we had several engagements with all stakeholders including the major marketers, independent marketers, carriers, the suppliers, the NNPC and other relevant entities and interested parties to see how we can address the distribution bottlenecks. .
“Now the market is not deregulated. So we are still in a regulated environment in terms of the petrol or gasoline, unrest and complaints were addressed.
“For example, when we started with the carriers, the president approved additional N10 for carriers to cover transportation costs due to the high cost of diesel fuel, which is the main resource for transportation of other products, as other products are transported across the country .
“As far as marketing companies are concerned, there was an increase in the freight rate associated with the calls about the actual cost of bunkers. For example, Lagos to Lagos, in the past it was about $16 to $19,000 a day to charter, so then it escalated to about $35 to $40,000 a day, to Calabar, for example, it had gone up a bit.
“We then sat down with the marketing companies and agreed to give them some palliatives through NNPC, as well as through our own regulatory control areas. But the market has continued to raise the ex-depot price. It has gone beyond expectations and beyond reason. And Nigerians have suffered from that.”
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