Oil marketers, on Tuesday, advised President Bola Tinubu to gradually relax the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, following the inability of importers to access the United States dollars and the impact which this was having on businesses.
This came as Tinubu ruled out fuel price hike and reversal of fuel subsidy.
However, marketers of petroleum products encouraged the President to learn from Kenya, stressing that the African country had to return subsidy on petrol to curb the devastating impact which its 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.”
Shuaibu argued that despite the fact that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited announced earlier on Tuesday that it had no intention of increasing petrol price, the cost of the commodity would rise above its current N617/litre in weeks, if the exchange rate continues to increase.
“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 dealers had said subsidy on petrol would gradually creep in, should the NNPCL continue to sell at N617/litre, particularly if the rise in forex rate persists.
The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, said the outright removal of subsidy would cause severe 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 had earlier explained that the price of imported commodities, including petrol, would continue to rise as far as the rate of exchange of the dollar increases.
“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.