Consumers grapple with high kero cost

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Kerosene-queue-in-Dutse-300x173The price of Kerosene, a product mostly used by the Nigerian masses, has remained high and beyond the reach of the people, despite the recent intervention by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN.

Vanguard investigations reveal that kerosene is sold above the government regulated in both the major and independent retail outlets visited.

The pump price of Household Kerosene, HHK or simply kerosene, is prescribed at N50/litre because the product is being subsidised by the Federal Government under the Petroleum Support Fund, PSF.

However, a visit to some of the independent outlets such as the Damoil filling station, Akute, Ifo, Ogun State, which shares boundary with Ojodu area of Lagos, a litre of kerosene is sold for N130/litre. A female attendant who spoke to Vanguard said she was acting on instruction from her boss as she could not explain the high price of the product.

Similarly, at Randuk filling station, Alagbole, Ifo, where the price was N130/litre, a staff of the establishment, who identified himself as Jide Ojo, attributed the high cost to scarcity of the product.

He said, “Since we opened this place early this year, Kerosene has been a scarce commodity. You may be surprised that the profit margin is not up to N5. We only sell to keep our customers; otherwise, we rarely make profit.”

The situation was slightly different at the Nationwide station, Ijaiye, Ogba, where the product was sold for N128/litre. A male attendant, who refused to be identified, said they deliberately decided to sell at a lower price in order to draw more customers and make quicker sales.

Similar scenarios also played out at the major outlets, as the Oando station, Ojodu, Ikeja, Lagos, last weekend, sold the product for N140/Litre.  The attendant, who gave his name as Jimoh, told Vanguard that the price was the least they could sell in view of the scarcity of the product they encounter occasionally. According to him, the outlet receives the supply of Kerosene once in a week at the cost of N120/litre.

The story is not different at the Mobil station, Maryland, where a female attendant, who also refused to be identified, put the price at N130/Litre. According to her, “The N50 official price is not realistic. We have never bought it below N120/litre and so it does not make economic sense to sell below the cost price. That is the why we sell at N130/litre,” she said.

At the Conoil station, Ikeja, Vanguard leant that the product was not available, but the last time the station got allocation, the product was sold at N140/litre. An attendant who would not want his name to be mentioned said that they had not been supplied with Kerosene in the last two months on account of “the intrigues involved in the product.”

The persistent high price and scarcity of the product is at variance with the intervention of IPMAN, to ensure sufficient supply of Kerosene at the official price of N50/litre.

IPMAN intervention

IPMAN recently said it had commenced the sale of Kerosene at N50/litre in filling stations nationwide. At the flag off ceremony in Lagos, the National President of the association, Mr. Abdulkadri Aminu, said members had been mandated to ensure the sale of the product at the regulated price of N50/litre as directed by the Federal Government.

According to him, the sale of Kerosene to the common people at the approved government price is one of the projects of IPMAN in conjunction with the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC.

“IPMAN has been at the vanguard of ensuring that the product that is meant for the local people should be sold at the approved price. This has also been the focus of the Minister of Petroleum Resources. Today, we are graceful to God that we have seen it happening. I want to assured every Nigerian that this particular exercise is going to be sustained,” he said.

The national president also said that the sale of kerosene at the official price will be launched in other states of the country, adding that any member found selling above the regulated price would be sanctioned. “From here, we are going to Kano, Sokoto, Enugu, Jos, Yola, Maiduguri and other states. This is the first time l am coming to visit our retail outlets and I can assure that the exercise is going to be continuous. “The Chairman of the South West Zone has been directed to go to other states within the southern states to launch the product,” he added.

Aminu assured that a monitoring team would be inaugurated to ensure conformity in all IPMAN outlets nationwide.

He also said that IPMAN has already ventured into gas utilisation, adding that many Nigerians had switched from kerosene to gas, which is the future of the world. “I want to assure Nigerians that a lot has been done by government to ensure that gas has come to stay. If you go to Benin, we have compressed natural gas, CNG. In Lagos, NIPCO has 5,000 metric tonnes of LPG.

“It is possible and true that kerosene can be sold at N50 per litre in this country. NNPC has been trying and we need more from the Corporation. In as much as the product is available, IPMAN is ready to sell at N50,” he said.

 

[Vanguard]

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