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9,000 merchants may lose their licenses, they ask for the intervention of the FG

•IPMAN pleads with NMDPRA and NNPC not to remove sales portal operators to avoid fuel crisis

•Queues persist as more service stations open for sale and pump price falls marginally

As Nigerians battle fuel shortages, more than 9,000 oil marketers are on the verge of losing their operating licenses.

As a result, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria is urging the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to extend its final deadline for license renewal to July.

He also called on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority to release 9,000 already processed licenses to its members.

The association disclosed the request in a statement signed by the National Public Relations Officer, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, on Thursday in Abuja.

Recall that IPMAN in a statement on Sunday lamented the slow pace of renewal of marketers’ licenses by the NMDPRA.

The NNPCL had set a deadline of April 15, 2024 for marketers to renew their licenses or risk closing access to their express customer portals for the purchase of petroleum products from NNPC Retail Limited.

But IPMAN requested an extension, saying the extension would allow marketers to reconcile their licenses and reduce panic buying by the public that exacerbates the current shortage of petroleum products.

The statement read: “The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria is aware of current developments in the downstream sector of our petroleum industry and wishes to state that the latest information reaching us from the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority of Nigeria indicates that they have already processed more than 9,000 of the 15,000 licenses expected to be processed for our members within this period.

“Marketers are expediting the processing of their licenses to avoid the imminent closure of their express customer portals for the purchase of petroleum products from NNPC Retail Limited.

“We, therefore, take this opportunity to appeal to the management of NMDPRA and NNPC Retail Limited to respectively release the processed licenses and extend the deadline for removing marketers from their express portals. If our request is granted, it will ease the strain of panic buying by the public so as not to aggravate the current shortage of petroleum products.”

Providing further clarity in a telephone interview, Ukadike said: “The release is to appeal to the NNPCL and NMPDRA to extend the final deadline to July to allow them to reconcile the licenses so that they are not unduly excluded. the portal and that is the attraction of IPMAN.”

Our correspondent contacted the Southwestern Regional Coordinator of NMDPRA, Ayo Cardoso, following the request of the marketers.

Responding, Cardoso said The punch that the NMDPRA would review the request and act accordingly.

“We will study your request,” he responded during a conversation with our correspondent.

The punch He recalled that amid the current fuel crisis, IPMAN had on Tuesday declared that it would close the 30,000 stations operated by IPMAN members across the country if the federal government did not pay the N200 billion owed to the marketers.

IPMAN specifically said that the NMDPRA had refused to settle the debt, which had continued to accumulate since September 2022.

He disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja by the Chairman, IPMAN Depot Presidents Forum, Yahaya Alhassan, on the non-payment of bridging claims by marketers.

Fuel shortages persist

In their quest to purchase the currently scarce Premium Motor Spirit, commercial drivers in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, have started staking out filling stations.

The Federal Government said on Wednesday it had initiated a 15-day emergency fuel supply to ensure the product circulates across the country to immediately cushion the shortage.

The government also revealed that vessels importing Premium Motor Spirit would continue to dock at the coast to unload gasoline at different depots, from where the product would be distributed to different service stations.

But despite these promises, the product is still not available to residents as commercial drivers now patrol filling stations in Abeokuta, Lagos, Oyo and others.

Commercial drivers have increased transport fares as most of them now frequent black markets that sell a liter of petrol for N1,200 per liter or more.

A commercial driver, Adio Adegoke, at the Slaab filling station in Abeokuta, told our correspondent that he had slept in his taxi while trying to buy fuel.

“I had to park my car here since yesterday at 7:30 pm when my tank emptied. I slept at the Divine Pax Oil and Gas service station,” she said.

Furthermore, a mechanic, Lekan Ade, corroborated the taxi driver’s claims, stating: “I bought it there this afternoon for one of my clients, they are still selling it right now at a price of N950 per liter.”

When our correspondent visited the gas station, in addition to it being written on its taximeter, an attendant was also seen warning drivers to come if they could not buy the product at that price.

Another driver, Adeoluwa Onasanya, told one of our correspondents that many slept at the filling station before they could get the product.

The PUNCH observed that the persistent fuel shortage appears to be a huge source of income for black traders as boys and girls were seen on roadsides in Lekki, Ajah and other parts of Lagos advertising fuel in jerry cans.

One of our correspondents observed that along the Egbeda-Idimu-Ikotun axis of Lagos, black traders were selling five liters of the product for N6,000.

A young man who identified himself as Mr. John said: “How many liters do you want? Here we sell 5 liters for 6,000 naira. At the petrol station they sell a liter for 1,200 naira, we have to bribe the petrol station to get the product, I can give you the amount of liter you want,” he boasted.

The PUNCH observed a long queue of vehicles at the NNPC Filling Station along Cele Expressway selling at N568/litre, while the AP Filling Station at Barracks Bustop was selling fuel at N700/litre with a long queue of Motorists struggling to buy fuel. .

As queues refuse to ease at service stations despite government promises, Nigerians fear the fuel crisis could degenerate into lost sources of income.