Oil Marketers Urge Gradual Subsidy Relaxation As Govt. Rejects Fuel Price Hike

In the ongoing debate over the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), oil marketers have advised President Bola Tinubu to consider a phased approach to the subsidy relaxation due to challenges faced by importers in accessing US dollars and the resulting impact on businesses. 


This recommendation emerged on Tuesday, as President Tinubu stood firm in rejecting any fuel price increase and reversal of the fuel subsidy.


Marketers of petroleum products highlighted the experience of Kenya, which had to reintroduce subsidies on petrol after removing them due to the severe consequences on its citizens.


 “Let them not do the needful, they will see the consequences,” warned Mohammed Shuaibu, Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria. 


Shuaibu emphasized that the government should heed the lessons from Kenya and urgently consider relaxing the subsidy removal.


Stressing the significance of forex rates in determining petroleum product costs, Shuaibu indicated that some oil marketers might even join labour unions in protesting the current situation. 


Despite the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s statement that it won’t increase petrol prices, experts are concerned that the exchange rate’s volatility might drive up the cost of the commodity.


As the debate rages on, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) proposed a policy that encourages private investment in the country’s refineries, calling for measures such as tax incentives and institutional support. 


The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria echoed the need for government intervention and expedited refinery repairs, respectively.


In the midst of rising costs of living due to the removal of petrol subsidies and subsequent fuel price hikes, the Presidency underlined that Nigeria remains the most affordable in West Africa for Premium Motor Spirit. Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, cited a decrease in daily fuel consumption following subsidy removal. 


The President called for fact-finding and restraint in the face of organized labor’s strike threats, reiterating the commitment to maintain current pump prices.


In a shift towards deregulation, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation reassured the public that it had no intention of raising petrol pump prices. 


The government aims to use comparative pricing data to underscore Nigeria’s position as the most budget-friendly nation for fuel in the West African sub-region.


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