‘Buhari rejects demand to increase pump price’


There are reports that there is a subtle move by marketers to increase fuel price – as government accuses the marketers of sabotage.

According to unknown sources quoted by The Nation, President Muhammadu Buhari said no to fuel price increment, including the re-introduction of fuel subsidy.

The key issue is a price war. The marketers have made representation to the Federal Government and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to allow price hike of petroleum products and leave the sector to market forces.

The President and Senior Government Officials are, however, opposed to price hike because of its spiral effect on the socio-economic life of the nation. It also has grave political implications for the survival of the present government.
In the last few months, the government has been trying to cope through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) until there was stress in the supply chain following threats by PENGASSAN and the challenge in Lagos.”

A Minister, also unnamed by The Nation, said, “Before the crisis, the nation used to consume between 30 million to 35 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) daily but since this current challenge started, the consumption has shot up to 80 million litres per day.

Without a soothsayer, it is obvious that something had gone wrong. We cannot just rule out sabotage including diversion of products.”

Meanwhile, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has accused the oil marketers in Nigeria of trying to force an increase in the pump price of petrol by hoarding the product to worsen the fuel scarcity crisis in the country.

 The National President of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson listed the bodies involved to include Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.

Johnson said, “And let me say it here that the oil marketers are complaining, they have been looking for ways to increase fuel price. But the labour unions, Trade Union Congress, Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and PENGASSAN are the ones who still fight and say to the marketers that they can’t do that. All of the marketers, IPMAN, DAPPMA, MOMAN, etc, have been agitating for petrol price increase.

They give you so many reasons, they say the dollar is not accessible, they say this, they say that, but we tell them ‘ no’, you can’t do that. And so subtle hoarding begins to take place, they start looking for ways to force the government to increase the price. That is the game.”

He added, “Like I told you earlier, left to the marketers, PMS will be selling at N500 per litre because they are there to make profits.

They say they don’t have access to crude oil, they lack access to dollars and that it is only the NNPC that is importing. We said go and import, but they said if they must do that, fuel should be increased to N170 per litre.”

NNPC had looked at the available fuel in the country and projected that it will last through 2017 and some part of 2018 but, all of a sudden, scarcity sets in there is petrol crisis.