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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has said that solution to lingering fuel scarcity in the country lies in “massive” importation and deregulation of the downstream sector of the nation’s oil industry.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin at the weekend, the chairman, IPMAN Western Zone, Alhaji Debo Ahmed, also said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should leave retailing of petroleum products to the independent fuel marketers and only engage in proper regulation.

The IPMAN boss, who said that the current fuel scarcity had led to job losses and closing of stations by members of his association, adding that fuel scarcity would persist because the NNPC had no capacity to meet the demand of petroleum requirements in the country as the sole importer, distributor, and retailer.

“That is a very dangerous monopoly destroying the economy of the country. The little quantity it imports is not distributed justifiably. NNPC mega stations which have 3.5 percent are allocated 50 percent of available products in all the functioning depots in the country.

“IPMAN with 80 percent of the market share is allocated 30 percent of the share of total available products. Major marketers with 1.6 percent market share are given 20 percent of available products as its allocation. With this distribution pattern, NNPC is strangulating IPMAN members because a lot of marketers have had the gates of their stations closed up.

“Volumes of most of the imported PMS are given to the depot owners under the PFI system to sell to the independent marketers at a controlled price of N133.28 per litre but the private depot owners will sell at N162 above the regulated price.

“The government is not doing enough about those depot owners (DAPPMA) who are flagrantly abusing the system only for Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to descend on independent marketers by closing their stations.

“Fuel scarcity can only be abated if NNPC can import massively and distribute justifiably with IPMAN, major marketers and NNPC having their usual allocations of 40 percent, 30 percent and 30 percent respectively”, he said.

He also urged the federal government to intensify efforts on repairs of Ore depot, saying that timely commissioning of Ilorin depot would ease distribution and supply of petroleum products in the area.

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