A recent investigation has revealed that petrol marketers are facing significant challenges in securing the necessary capital to purchase fuel at depots following the deregulation of the downstream sector in the petroleum industry.
Before the removal of petrol subsidies, the cost of loading at the depot averaged N8.1 million per truck. However, this figure has surged by over 169 percent to N21.8 million.
Marketers are expressing their difficulties in raising such capital on short notice.
Chief Chinedu Ukadike, the Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), highlighted independent marketers’ dire situation. He explained that these marketers have not received the loads they paid for under the previous pricing system over the past three months. This circumstance further exacerbates the challenges in raising funds to cover the costs at the new rate.
Ukadike further clarified that the removal of petrol subsidies by President Bola Tinubu has increased the ex-depot price from N180 per liter to N484 per liter.
“We are facing a terrible situation. Our tickets are stocked. In the past three months, we have not loaded one liter of petrol. The price now is too high. The challenge is that the ones we paid for at the old rate were not supplied, and now we have a new rate.
“The ex-depot price is now N484 per liter, depending on the depot you are loading from, compared to the N180 per liter we paid in the past. We have asked them to give us the products we paid for at the old rate, but they have refused.
“NNPC is the only source of petrol products, and we are saying this is wrong. The government must open the sector up. There cannot be deregulation, and NNPC would be setting profit margins for the marketers”, he added.
According to Chief Ukadike, in the Lagos region, independent marketers are facing a backlog of 5,700 outstanding tickets, with 600 tickets in Port Harcourt and 1,200 tickets in Warri, Delta State.
Emphasizing the readiness of marketers to compete in the deregulated market, Chief Ukadike urged the government to ensure a fair and equitable business environment for all marketers.
He further highlighted that despite having an extensive retail network throughout the country, the current business climate poses significant challenges for independent marketers to sustain their operations.
“We had a discussion with President Tinubu during the campaigns, and we agreed with him that subsidies should be removed, but the issue is that let NNPC refund our money (for tickets paid for at the old rate) and then let the government issue us with licenses to import our own products.
“We cannot have only one source of petroleum products and claim that the sector is deregulated. We are ready to compete, but the business environment must be the same for every player”, he added.