By G9ija

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) says the current increase in the pump price of petrol in the Southeastern part of Nigeria is because of a shortage in the supply of the product.

Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu Depot in charge of Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States, Mr Chindedu Anyaso, while speaking with journalists in Awka on Friday said the prevailing price of between N170 and N175 in the zone was unfortunate but inevitable because of the reality in the market.

“Our members are selling products at between N170 and N175 but it is not any fault of theirs, I am surprised that NNPC is saying people should sell at N162 when they themselves are not selling.

“Here in the South East, there is no depot, so we rely on other places like Lagos, Warri and Calabar, presently Warri is not selling and in Calabar, we are buying at N164 per litre and when you add loading and transportation cost, it lands at the filling station at above N170.

“It is not enough to tell the public that prices have not increased, they should tell them how much they are selling to us, they should let us know where we can buy at that price so that our members can go and buy.

“Going by the cost at the moment, it is impossible for anybody to sell below N170, NNPC should turn the heat to private depot operators and not marketers.

“So, IPMAN is appealing to NNPC to ensure a sufficient supply of products, they should wet the system by compelling tank farm owners to sell at the approved price.

“Last year, they trucked over 5 million litres down to Enugu and it is still there, let NNPC load that product to our members.

“Marketers are struggling to stay in business because we rely on depots outside the zone for supply and NNPC is not selling and some private depots have refused to sell, if it is the one they have at our depot, they should come and sell it.

“Any member who increases price arbitrarily will lose sales to the next filling station because we are in a deregulated and competitive market, so nobody should see it as a marketers problem, it is a supply issue,” he said.

Anyaso called on customers to understand the situation and bear with marketers as they would not deliberately hurt them but would continue to serve them to the best of their abilities.