There seems to be no end in sight to the current fuel scarcity as the ex-depot price of petrol rose to an all time high of N128 yesterday from the official N76 per litre, as marketers made desperate moves to source the product to service their clients.
Daily Sun investigations across some depots in Apapa and Ibafon, revealed that the hike in ex-depot price followed pressures from independent marketers to get allocations to sell to consumers who are willing to pay any price for fuel to keep their vehicles on the road. It was however not certain, at how much the marketers will sell to retail clients after buying at N128, considering that several independent marketers have been selling products for between N150 and N180 per litre within Lagos and environs.
According to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) pricing template, ex-depot price as at yesterday remained N76.00.
But a source who pleaded not to be named told Daily Sun that there was no way depots would sell petrol at the official ex-depot price of N76.00 because it was simply impossible to do so.
‘‘For today, we only managed to give out 20 dockets considering the huge number of trucks waiting to load. But we can only give dockets based on the quantity of products at our disposal. This is simply a case of demand and supply and marketers are ready to buy at whatever cost because they know there is demand waiting for them on the streets,’’ the source said.
The source, however, said hope might be in the horizon in the next two weeks as government has concluded plans to bring in more cargoes of products to cushion the effect of the current scarcity.
It regretted that products coming in were being sourced by government at exorbitant rate, all in a bid to douse the tension created by the scarcity, which has apparently crippled businesses and other commercial activities.
‘‘The desperation of government to ensure that fuel is available to members of the public may have forced them to seek alternative means to end this scarcity and because the request is coming to the refiners as an emergency, they have to hike prices.
“The products that are being expected are cargoes that were going to other countries but had to be diverted to Nigeria to address the lingering fuel crisis,’’ the source said.
Meanwhile, long queues of motorists in search of fuel dotted major parts of Lagos yesterday, further compounding the traffic situation. The development may have equally forced motorists to abandon their cars at home to storm the fuel stations with jerrycans, which they said was easier and more convenient to get.
“You know with jerrycan, it is easier to manoeuver round filling stations because you part with extra N200 on every 25 litre keg. Most fuel attendants prefer to sell for those with jerrycans because they know that they will make extra cash,” a motorist, Mr. Abiodun Ogunlana said.