Selling petrol above regulated price has become big business in Nigeria

by Thabile Manala 0

A CNBC Africa exposé has uncovered that Nigerian fuel is being sold above the market price of 87 naira/l or US44c, with many petrol stations closed, the black market for fuel is said to be thriving in driving these prices forward.

An unnamed source on the black market said, “I buy it 120 naira and I am selling it 200 per litre.” In response to why the petrol is not being sold to him at 87 naira, he said, “I don’t know about that.” The few petrol stations that are open, are selling the fuel for above the government  recommended price.

Onyebuchi Sibeudu, Zonal Operations Controller at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) said, “They have different reasons, they told us that they are not buying it on the government’s stipulated price at the depo.”

She said in a mission to cumber this situation, they have approached depos to comply. “We have introduced what we call coupons, before it was just invoices that are owned by the depos… in the coupon we expect you to state how much you paid for the fuel, your name and the quantity you bought, this coupon will be signed by three parties [DPR, marketer and depo owner].”

However, in blame-game fashion, depo owners claim that they too, do not get the petrol at the official price. The DPR said that dealers must however comply with government directives to sell at 87 naira per litre.

To ensure there is compliance, the DPR conducts routine checks on depos and fuel stations, which has reaped awards.

The inspection team is not fooled though as some dealers sell at 87 nairas per litre but manipulate the metres to dispense less fuel, which leads to a higher price per litre.

For petrol stations currently not selling fuel to customers, the amount of fuel that is stored is measured by inspectors to ensure owners are not hoarding fuel to sell on the black market.

According to Sibeudu, this has not been an easy job. “We have letters, some anonymous, some mention their names, writing to the director threatening his life. It’s a very difficult thing, but we are not giving up.”