The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and oil marketers in Nigeria are hauling blame at each other for the excruciating scarcity and outrageous prices of kerosene and kerosene and cooking gas (Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG) across the country.
Over the weekend the price of cooking gas which was initially sold at N3,500 across Nigeria has now escalated to N5,000 per 12.5kg cylinder, whereas kerosene which went for as much as N250 per litre before the Christmas holidays is now sold for a minimum of N500 per litre.
Some of the retailers who aired their view said it was normal for prices of commodities to increase especially during the festive season as a result of huge demands in the product. They equally noted that the recent sharp increase in prices of oil was abnormal.
According to one of the retailers identified by Hamza Shuaibu, cooking gas seem not to be available in most of the recognised depots in Abuja, causing retailers to obtain the product from black marketers and middlemen. As for kerosene, most of the petrol stations said they last sold the product sometime in June 2015 and had not seen the product since then.
On the other hand, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, told Vanguard in an interview that oil marketers were responsible for the scarcity and the hike in the prices of kerosene and cooking gas.
He also denied that the scarcity was a ploy by the NNPC to push for an increase in the prices of cooking gas, kerosene, petrol or any other petroleum product. According to Ughamadu, NNPC had been consistent in bringing in petroleum products into the country, but its efforts were not being complemented by the marketers, who he said had refused to bring in products.
The Manager explained that LPG market was fully deregulated and though the NNPC was trying in this regard, it could not compel the marketers to bring in the product, especially as it was not a regulator.