By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Wednesday urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to intensify the distribution of petroleum products to Western depots, to address shortage in the hinterlands.
Alhaji Debo Ahmed, Chairman, IPMAN Western Zone, made the appeal in Lagos, against the backdrop of the inability of IPMAN members to import petrol into the country.
Ahmed, however, commended the NNPC on frequent supply of petrol, but said the distribution was still not enough for the zone.
According to him, some depots within the western zone have begun to receive massive supply of petroleum products from the NNPC, which independent marketers enjoy loading at ease to the hinterlands.
“The supply of petrol to depots has improved grossly in the western zone. We appeal to NNPC to maintain the tempo.
“All depots within the western zone now sell petroleum products at government-regulated prices, compared to when petrol was sold above ex-depot prices.
“We, the marketers, under the western zone, commend the management of NNPC for addressing the petroleum distribution challenges to depots in the zone.
“Government has set the pace for steady supply of petroleum products across the country,’’ he said.
Ahmed lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his concern in easing fuel distribution and supply to every part of the country.
He said that this had informed the commitment of the NNPC management in upgrading storage facilities across Nigeria and ensuring the availability of products.
Ahmed said that product availability in the depots would address the challenge of selling petroleum products above the pump price in some filing stations, particularly in the hinterlands.
The IPMAN boss also said that the development was a huge boost to petroleum distribution in the region.
He lauded Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC for his leadership quality, saying that “It is one of the key mandates of the present administration in revamping abandoned assets like the petroleum product depots.
Ahmed said that the upgrading would also put those assets back to work for the overall security, improvement in supply and the distribution of petroleum products for the benefit of all Nigerians.
“We are very happy about the massive supply of petrol to depot within the western zone, which has the biggest depots in the country.
Ahmed assured that his members would partner with NNPC officials to ensure the protection and surveillance of the petroleum product pipelines, to curb incessant vandalism.
He appealed to Baru to expedite action in rehabilitating the Ore and Ilorin depots, to ease distribution and loading activities within the axis.