Petroleum Product Marketers in Imo State have blamed the hike in the pump price of petrol across the state on lapses from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The Chairman, Association of Imo State Petroleum Marketers/Dealers, Christopher Amadi, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Owerri, the state capital on Sunday.
According to Mr. Amadi, the increase in the pump price of petrol in Imo was caused by the inability of the NNPC to dispense the product from its Enugu, Aba, Markudi and Port Harcourt depots.
Aside from NNPC filling station on Onitsha-Owerri Road, every other stations sell the product between N130 and N150 per litre as against the official price of N86.50 per litre.
He said that the dealers in the state were finding it difficult to source the product.
“As I am talking with you, no marketer in Imo has loaded the product at the government-approved price since the new price regime by the government.
“All the products we sell are sourced from private tank farms and the owners sell above the government’s rate.
“Yet they would force you to agree that the product was sold to you at the government-approved rate.
“Security agencies and the media can investigate what I am saying because our position on this matter is verifiable”.
Mr. Amadi, who decried the difficulty faced by the dealers in sourcing the products, regretted the condemnation of the marketers by the public.
“There is no product at the Aba, Port Harcourt, Enugu, and Markudi depots.
“These are the sources from where we should get products to sell to the people in Imo and other South-East states”, he said.
The chairman said that its members had been directed to, henceforth, stop buying the product above the government-approved price from the private tank farms.
“Our position is that we do not want to be seen as those disobeying government’s directive on the sale of the product.
“We are calling on government to do all in its powers to ensure availability of petrol.
“We are tired of being called bad names because we want to ensure that Imo people do not suffer petrol scarcity unduly”, Mr. Amadi said.
He said that it was wrong for government to expect marketers to sell at the new pump price, products they bought at the old rates.
“What government should do to ensure compliance to the new price regime is to flood the market with the product at the new official price.
“Once there is saturation of the market with the product at the new approved price, certainly, marketers will switch over to the new pump price of N86.50 per litre”, he said.