Nigerian government blamed of dishonesty over oil sector deregulation

Jun 29, 2004 02:00 AM

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) slammed the Federal Government for being insincere in the deregulation of the oil sector without allowing the interplay of market forces to determine prices of petroleum products.
Chairman of Enugu branch of IPMAN, Mr Chidi Nnubia hit out at the federal government policies at a stakeholders meeting called by the Enugu State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to discuss the failure of IPMAN to comply with the federal high court order to revert to the old prices of petroleum products. According to him, deregulation implied that prices should be driven by market forces and not government regulation hence it smacked of policy inconsistency for marketers to be compelled to sell products at regulated prices.

Nnubia stated further that it was unrealistic for government to expect marketers to sell below the cost prices after importing fuel at a landing cost of N 50 per litre, adding that neither the federal nor state governments have undertaken to pay compensation to marketers.
"As at now, government has not agreed to give us the percentage of subsidy which we requested in order to be able to sell at the regulated prices," Nnubia said. The stakeholders meeting was fruitful as IPMAN finally yielded to the pressure exerted by the NLC and agreed to sell petrol at N 44 per litre in Enugu and its environs.

IPMAN has persistently defied the Abuja federal high court order on petroleum prices and continued to sell premium motor spirit (PMS) or petrol at between N 50 and N 65 per litre Chairman of IPMAN gave assurance that his members would comply with the agreed price of N 44 per litre. However, he stated that full compliance would depend on the availability of the product, since according to him, the major problems facing marketers has always been scarcity of petroleum products.
Said he: "Our problem is supply. If you're given only 9, 000 litres for a month, it would not last one week and that means marketers would beidle for the remaining three weeks. We can only move forward if supply is improved."

Source: This Day
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