The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has declared its stand on the subsidy. The Association disagreed with subsidy’s removal, arguing that the current government, President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), did not meet the necessary criteria for its removal.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers stated that it would disclose its stance on the proposed removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit after its National Executive Council meeting.
According to The Punch, both organisations, NUPENG and IPMAN were reacting to the position of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, who had earlier called on the government to discontinue the petrol subsidy and rehabilitate Nigeria’s refineries.
The president of PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, had urged the Federal Government to stop subsidizing petrol and to fast-track the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s refineries during a press conference at the National Executive Council meeting of the association in Abuja.
When asked if PENGASSAN supports the removal of fuel subsidies despite the absence of functional domestic refineries, Osifo responded “Yes!”.
However, NUPENG’s National President, Williams Akporeha, stated that the union’s NEC would also need to meet before providing its position.
He quickly added that the association supported the Nigeria Labour Congress’s stance on the subsidy debate when asked about NUPENG’s position on the issue.
The National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, also commented on the matter, saying that while the association appreciated President Buhari’s decision to continue the subsidy until the end of his term, his administration did not fulfill the necessary requirements for subsidy removal.
In his words, “IPMAN commends the administration of President Buhari for considering not to remove fuel subsidy before handing over on May 29, 2023. As the National PRO of IPMAN, we are in support of the fact that the current administration should not remove subsidy.
“This is because the factors that should necessitate the removal of subsidy have not been put in place by this outgoing administration. Our obsolete refineries should work and our pipelines should be repaired in order to move petroleum products from riverine areas to dry lands.
“From there, marketers can be able to load products as quickly as possible to their filling stations without travelling long distances. These are the factors that will aid the smooth transition to a no-subsidy regime.”
He said that when the refineries are operational, along with the Dangote Refinery, it will prevent the importation of petroleum products and prevent excessively high prices.
“As independent petroleum marketers, we are the ones who feel the impact on the masses most. So the haste for subsidy removal by the outgoing administration will cause unnecessary hardship and tough times for the in-coming administration.
“So our position as IPMAN is that the issue of subsidy removal should be suspended and the incoming administration should be allowed to handle it,” he said.
According to Ukadike, IPMAN had previously held discussions with the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, during which marketers emphasized that “he (Tinubu) should ensure the provision of factors that will necessitate smooth transition to the no-subsidy regime.”
The IPMAN PRO further stated, “All of us agreed that it must be put in place before subsidy is removed. Also, his excellency, represented by Adams Oshiomhole, agreed with us, and assured us that the incoming administration will look at it.”
Ukadike stated that palliative is not the major challenge, he acknowledged that the problem that needs to be solved is that of refineries.
In his words, “We acknowledge the issue of palliatives by the Federal Government, but it is not our main problem. Our main problem is for the government to ensure that the refineries are working and the pipelines are restored.”