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Black market booms in Abuja as fuel queues returns

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THERE were widespread petrol queues in Abuja and parts of Niger and Nasarawa States yesterday as marketers of the product attributed the development to fears of possible price hike among, other concerns.

  Hundreds of black marketers who sold the commodity in jerrycans resumed business in some of the affected locations on Monday.

  Many fillings stations were shut to motorists on Monday morning, while the few ones that dispensed the commodity were flooded with motorists and other petrol seekers.

  The only retail outlet of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Kubwa-Zuba expressway that dispensed petrol on Monday morning was jam-packed with motorists.

Most other filling stations on that road and in various locations in Abuja and neighbouring states did sell petrol. 

  Attendants in some of the outlets said the threat by Petrol Tanker Drivers to embark on strike also contributed in triggering the scarcity in the affected areas.

  The PTD had to suspend its proposed strike on Monday after the intervention of the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele kyari.

  “Following GMD #NNPC Mallam @MKKyari’s intervention in the National  Association of Road Transport Owners/Petroleum Tanker Drivers impasse, PTD has just announced the suspension of its planned strike until closure of discussion between both parties. Also, the GMD announced that there would be no increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit in the month of May 2021,” NNPC had tweeted on Monday.

  The corporation’s boss had also stated that there was enough petrol and urged motorists to refrain from panic buying.

  Reacting to the development, National Public Relations Officer of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, explained that a number of factors had caused the scarcity.

  “The queues are here again because the problem associated with bringing in of products is still there. Our people in the North-West recently complained about the late payment of bridging claims by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund. PEF had been defaulting in the prompt payment of claims to marketers, adding that the threat to embark on strike by the PTD before the intervention of NNPC also worsened the scarcity.

Also this issue on the pricing of petroleum products is another factor, because once is getting towards the end of the month, marketers will be waiting for the NNPC to know the pricing regime for the next month. The price is currently around N165/litre, but marketers are speculating that it could be around N175/litre next month despite the position of NNPC. And if this happens, before you restock, you will have to pay more money for the product, so all these are factors. Towards the end of the month, transport owners and others often refrain from supplying products to independent marketers,” Ukadike said.

  Meanwhile, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, yesterday, disclosed that the federal government is currently engaging with stakeholders on the process that will lead to the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) in a manner that will be beneficial to the ordinary man.

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