Petroleum products marketers have warned that retail outlets are shutting down operations due to increasing cost of running the business.
Speaking during the National Executive Council meeting of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria, NOGASA, in Abuja, the marketers faulted the process followed by President Bola Tinubu in the removal of subsidies on petrol, saying measures that ought to have been in place before the removal were not taken.
The marketers insisted that the nation’s refineries ought to have been operational and issues around foreign exchange resolved before the petrol subsidy was removed.
The marketers questioned the Federal Government’s inability to end the illicit trading of dollars in the country.
Speaking at the meeting, NOGASA President, Mr. Benneth Korie, warned that the downstream in the country was under serious pressure as stations were shutting down due to harsh operational conditions.
He stated: “Depot owners are so terribly affected by the increasing cost of the crude and exchange rate to the extent that many depots are practically deserted as their owners are unable to secure bank loans to fund their business due to high interest rates.
“Banks are not willing to guarantee funds release to stakeholders as a result of the difficulty, instability and galloping foreign exchange rate. Many depots are presently dried up or out of stock.
“Worst hit are filling stations whose owners find it extremely difficult to secure funds to procure products for their retail outlets and both the independent and major marketers are so terribly affected that as at today, filling stations are shutting down in great numbers on a daily basis and dealers are going out of business with many more on the verge of bankruptcy because of their inability to secure funds to facilitate orders for their stations”.