Port Harcourt — The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, has raised the alarm over alleged secret reintroduction of fuel subsidy payments by the Federal government.
Recall that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on assumption of office on May 29 2023, announced the total removal of subsidy on petrol, which led to an all-time increment in the fuel price from N175 to N540 per litre, and later to N617 per litre in July 2023.
The removal of fuel subsidy and the resulting increment in the pump of petrol by almost 300 percent had quadrupled the inflation rate in the country and affected the purchasing power of Nigerians, especially the middle class and low income earners.
IPMAN Chairman in Rivers State, Dr. Joseph Obele, says the federal government was using proceeds from the Nigeria LNG Limited, NLNG’s, dividends to subsidise fuel, in order to retain fuel price at N617 per litre.
Obele recalled asking the federal government to allow market forces determine the fuel price by increasing the pump price of petrol, since the landing cost of petrol was almost N800 per litre following the rise in crude oil prices.
According to him, crude oil prices at the international market currently was above $90 per barrel, yet Nigerians are still buying the commodity at the rate of N600 per litre, which, he said, was unrealistic without subsidy payment.
He said: “With the consistent increment in the price of crude oil and rise in foreign exchange rates, it is obvious that Federal Government has tactical intervened by closing the price gap in the landing cost of PMS and the pump price of fuel.
“The argument whether subsidy is back in Nigeria came to an end when a document published by the Federal Account Allocation Committee showed that the Nigerian LNG Limited paid $275 million, equivalent of N169.4 billion as dividends to Nigeria through NNPC Limited for the month of August.
“The document indicates that NNPC Ltd. used part of the money in question to pay for PMS subsidy for the month of August 2023.
“We are aware that the current NNPC Ltd is not a charitable organization or a government funded organisation anymore.
“The happenings or effect of external events in the international market will adversely reflect on the pump price of PMS in Nigeria, because we solely rely on the importation of PMS from the international market.”
IPMAN further warned that Nigeria’s economy will begin to experience stability only when the nation commences production of petrol in-country.
“Nigeria is the only shameless OPEC member nation that has dumped its own refineries, and busy importing petroleum products from refineries owned by other nations.
“Mr President has announced that the Port Harcourt Refinery will commence operations by December 2023 and we are hopeful because the speed of the project of recent is encouraging,” he stated.
This article was originally posted at sweetcrudereports.com