Seven oil marketers, who imported Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, about a month ago, have stopped bringing in the commodity into the market, leading to pockets of scarcity in some parts of the country.
It was gathered on Friday that the only importer of PMS at the moment was the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, as many depots and filling stations now lack petrol, leading to queues in outlets that dispensed fuel.
The last private dealer, Petrocam, that imported petrol into Nigeria recently, cannot sell it due to the return of subsidy on the product and the insistence of the NNPCL not to raise the pump price.
Oil marketers told news correspondent that before last month, whenever they brought in the product, they would convince the NNPCL to raise the price in line with the landing cost.
This was due to the fact that President Bola Tinubu had announced the stoppage of subsidy payment on petrol. The cost of the commodity was raised twice to reflect the real pump price, as marketers resumed its importation at the time.
But following the harsh economic realities in the country and threats by labour unions to ground the economy should petrol price increase again, the government, through NNPCL, stopped raising the cost of the product.
This made the marketers to halt its importation, leaving only the NNPCL to continue importing it.
But the marketers explained that the NNPCL currently had so many retail outlets and was struggling to meet their demands, not to talk of supplying to third parties.
National President, Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria, Benneth Korie, had earlier confirmed that a lot of depots were presently out of stock.
Meanwhile, the NNPCL debunked claims that it was planning to increase the pump price of petrol.
In a post on its X handle on Friday, it said, “Dear esteemed customers, we at NNPC Retail value your patronage and we do not have the intention to increase our PMS pump prices as widely speculated.
“Please buy the best quality products at the most affordable prices at our NNPC Retail stations nationwide.”