Following importers’ difficulty to obtain US dollars and the effects this was having on businesses, oil marketers recommended President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday to gradually soften the withdrawal of subsidies on Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol.
This occurred as Tinubu ruled against raising the price of fuel and reversing the fuel subsidy.
However, proponents of petroleum products urged the President to take a lesson from Kenya, emphasising that the African nation was forced to reinstate petrol subsidies in order to mitigate the catastrophic effects that their removal had on Kenyans.
“Let them not do the needful, they will see the consequences. We learned this morning that Kenya, which equally removed subsidy and noticed that its effect was so hard on the citizens, has again resumed the subsidy regime for the period of two months,” the Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, told our correspondent.
He added, “Government is about the people and it must have a listening ear. For Nigeria, how can we be an oil producing nation with four refineries and all of them are down. We now depend on imports.
“When he (Tinubu) announced that thing (subsidy removal), we said it was going to bring problems. Are we not feeling the consequences of that announcement now? It is forex that largely determines the cost of petroleum products here.
“Marketers are not willing to import products again, So if the government is going to relax the removal of subsidy for a while, it should better do that as a matter of urgency.”
Even though the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited stated earlier on Tuesday that it has no intention of raising the price of petrol, Shuaibu contended that if the exchange rate keeps rising, the price of the product would soar over its current N617/litre in a matter of weeks.
“Relaxing subsidy removal is going to be a very wise decision right now, because going by the price of the dollar, the cost of petrol is bound to rise. In fact, some oil marketers are ready to join the labour union to protest,” he added.
Some traders have stated that if the NNPCL continues to sell at N617/litre, a petrol subsidy would gradually be implemented, especially if the currency rate rises.
National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria,Chief Chinedu Ukadike, stated that the abolition of the subsidy would inflict tremendous hardship.
“I’ve been saying this even before subsidy on petrol was removed. How can you stop subsidy without anything on ground as palliatives?
“Trips that used to be N5,000 in the past and now over N15,000. Businesses are shutting down. The suffering is rising. The government has to intervene now,” he stated.
The IPMAN PRO previously stated that the price of imported commodities, including petrol, would continue to climb as the dollar’s exchange rate rose.
“Once there is a slack in the naira against the dollar, there is going to be an effect. The demand and supply of forex is a key factor. We should also understand that it is not only petroleum products that use forex.