The petroleum product marketers are gearing for a showdown with the federal government following the decision to reduce the pump price of petrol by N5 per litre, saying the realities of the moment does not support the reduction.
In an interview with newsmen in Abuja, the National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mike Osatuyi, said that given the recent increase in global oil prices and the devaluation of the naira, petrol price of N162 per litre means returning to the era of subsidy.
“The government said it had deregulated, so, it is not possible to sell petrol at N162 on December 14. If you ask anybody now in the industry, they will tell you the price at which they can sell is about N170 to N180.
The Minister of labour does not have the power to determine the price of petrol. Even the President can only do that if we go back to subsidy,” the IPMAN controller said.
The Vice President of IPMAN, Abubakar Maigandi, said that his association is waiting for the circular from the government with respect to the price reduction before they can implement.
While holding a similar view, the National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Dr Billy Gillis–Harry, pointed out that the interference by government in petrol pricing had continued to defeat the purpose of deregulation, just as marketers had lost millions of naira as a result of the frequent price adjustments.
“Deregulation as announced is a farce. From what we have seen, there is nothing like that. Government is fixing the pump price of petrol.
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“We have no circular to confirm that price adjustment, and as far as we are concerned, we cannot say it will be implemented until we get an official communication about it,” Billy said.
Minister for labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, announced earlier that the Federal Government was going to reduce the pump price of petrol from N168 to N162.44 per litre, with effect from December 14, following the meeting with Labour leaders on Monday, December 7, 2020.
The meeting is fallout of the recent increase in the pump price of petrol, which the organized labour were totally opposed to and threatened strike action.
The minister explained that the price reduction will not impact government’s deregulation policy, as it does not affect the price of crude oil but on areas where the NNPC as the main importer had agreed that it could cut costs like freight and demurrage costs.
By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja