The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has attributed the current increase in the pump price of petroleum products in the South East to shortage in the supply of the products.
Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu depot in charge of Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi, Mr Chindedu Anyaso, who dropped the hint to newsmen, regretted that the situation was worsened by the non-functional petroleum depot in the zone.
He described as unfortunate but inevitable the prevailing price of the products between N170 and N175 in the zone, but maintained that the reality on the current hike was due to supply shortage.
According to him, marketers were only responding to price variations in the market which was controlled by private depot operators. They rely on other parts of the country for sourcing of products with all the risks.
He said, “Our members are selling products at between N170 and N175 but it is not any fault of theirs, I am surprised that NNPC are saying people should sell at N162 when they themselves are not selling.
“Here in the South East, there is no depot, so we rely on other places like Lagos, Warri and Calabar, presently Warri is not selling and in Calabar we are buying at N164 per liter and when you add loading and transportation cost, it lands at the filling station at above N170.
“It is not enough to tell the public that prices have not increased, they should tell them the much they are selling to us, and to tell us where we can buy at that price so that our members can go and buy.
While stressing the impossibility of selling the products below N170 in view of the current cost, IPMAN boss appealed to NNPC to ensure sufficient supply of products.
He also called on customers to bear with marketers as they would not deliberately hurt them but would continue to serve them to the best of their abilities.
He added, “NNPC should not only turn the heat to private depot operators and not marketers, but should wet the system by compelling tank farm owners to sell at the approved price
“Last year, they trucked over 5 million liters down to Enugu and it is still there, let NNPC load that product to our members.
“Marketers are struggling to stay in business because we rely on depot outside the zone for supply and NNPC is not selling and some private depots have refused to sell, if it is the one they have at our depot, they should come and sell it.
“Any member who increase price arbitrarily will lose sales to the next filling station because we are in a deregulated and competitive market, so nobody should see it as marketers problem, it is a supply issue,” he said.