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Fuel scarcity looms in Lagos as IPMAN fumes over Customs seizures

…Petroleum products imports drops at seaport

Strong indication emerged weekend, showing serious chances of fuel scarcity within Lagos metropolis beginning from today depending on official responses.

Trouble leading to the fears is linked to the position of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association on Nigeria (IPMAN), Lagos branch to ground supplies pending when the leadership of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), release impounded trucks belonging to their members over supplying products to border filling stations in contravention of earlier Customs directive.

Otherwise, IPMAN members vowed to resist the action which it said may likely disrupt effective and efficient products distribution and sales not only along border communities but in most parts of the state.

This is latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics weekend, showed drop in imports of petrol and diesel by about 11 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively in September.

In a clarification remarks, Chairman Satelite depot, Ejigbo and Lagos state chairman of IPMAN, Mr Akin Akinrinade, said the trucks had already loaded at different depots in the state and about discharging products at their designated destinations before the suspension order of products sale at communities near the border was made.

Both officials stressed that “Why we are protesting this action is that these trucks have already been designated to discharge products and are on transit while some are about discharging at the stations before they were impounded.”

On the reasons behind the drop in petroleum products imports, analysts say the decline in the imports of the petroleum products followed the partial closure on August 22 of the nation’s land borders with countries such as Benin and Niger in order to check smuggling of contraband into the country.

The volume of the Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, imported into the country dropped to 1.46 billion litres in September, down from 1.64 billion litres in August and 1.99 billion litres in July.

The NBS data showed that petrol imports stood at 2.24 billion litres in January; 1.56 billion litres in February; 1.07 billion litres in March; 2.07 billion litres in April; 2.01 billion litres in May, and 1.53 billion litres in June. The country imported a total of 5.09 billion litres of petrol in the third quarter of the year, down from 5.61 billion litres in the previous quarter.

A total of 4.89 billion litres of petrol was distributed by trucks to all states in Q3, compared to 5.18 billion litres in Q2, according to the NBS.