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Nigerians Will Suffer More if Petrol Subsidy is Removed, Says Oil Marketers

While the commodity is scarce in some parts of the country, the cost continues to rise in many states as Nigerians keep complaining over long queues and skyrocketing prices.

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have alerted their fellow citizens to brace up for harder times once the Federal Government eventually commences the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.

This warning came as Nigerians, especially vehicle owners and those who often visit filling stations to purchase petrol face difficulties in getting the commodity.

While the commodity is scarce in some parts of the country, the cost continues to rise in many states as Nigerians keep complaining over long queues and skyrocketing prices.

Petrol users have continued to lament the scarcity and hike in price and blamed the Federal Government for their woes.

While the official price of petrol is pegged at N185, filling stations have been selling at higher prices even most buyers have to tip fuel attendants before purchasing the commodity.

Some buy between N200 and N450 across the country after spending hours at filling stations queuing to get the commodity.

Investors King had reported that the Federal Government was contemplating removing subsidy on petrol gradually even as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had hinted that allocation for subsidy in the nation’s subsidy would cease in June this year.

Investors King recalls that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to resuscitate the nation’s collapsed refinery but a few months to the end of his eight years in office, none of the country’s refineries is yet to pick up.

Nigerian oil marketers have expressed fear that Nigerians may buy petrol at higher rates if the subsidy is removed without concrete measures put in place by the Federal Government before its withdrawal.

According to IPMAN Secretary, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, a litre of petrol may be sold at the rate of N800 or even higher if petrol is subsidized and no painstaking measures are put in place beforehand.

Shuaibu said the situation would bring untold hardship on Nigerians, adding that it would not be realistic if the nation withdraws subsidy on a commodity is barely available.

While exonerating IPMAN from the problem of scarcity of fuel, the oil marketer asked the Federal Government to explain to Nigerians how the fuel supply crisis came to be.

He told the federal government to desist from blaming oil marketers for the unwholesome development in the oil sector, warning that a subsidy removal without appropriate measures that would ameliorate the harsh effects would make citizens suffer more.

While stressing that the oil market is not properly situated for healthy competition, Shuaibu stated that once the Dangote Refinery, a privately owned company kicks off, Nigerians would be exploited through it.

Revealing that the pipelines of the refinery were not even designed to run in any Nigerian state, he disclosed that the pipelines have been structured to run in neighbouring countries except for the one in the Lekki area of Lagos State.

For him, the absence of competition in the oil sector for oil refinery would give Dangote the opportunity to be the only supplier that would be calling the shot in the industry and that would not fetch Nigerians any good.

Shuaibu said the exploitation may not end until other private persons build refineries in the country and there is competition.

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Economy

IPMAN Accuses NNPC of Worsening Fuel Scarcity Through Supply Shortage

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Nigerian petrol station

Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) for the worsening crisis in the oil industry.

Contrary to NNPCL’s claim of having enough Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol to make the country get out of the current fuel crisis rocking the nation, the oil marketers said the national petroleum company has been short-supplying depots and in turn starving retailers of the product.

According to the oil marketers, filling stations across the country still experience lack of product because their efforts to get fuel at depots proved abortive owing to very low supply.

NNPC had recently disclosed it had over one billion litres of PMS, enough to go around the nation’s retailing outlets in order to tackle the scarcity and hike in price of fuel.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had said that it had 831 million litres in marine cargo, loaded in shuttle vessels.

He said there is up to 738 million litres of fuel that are documented on the platform of the regulator of the industry, which is the Nigerian Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), adding that the company had enough products to supply to tye country.

Also, the NMDPRA had recently noted that the NNPC had PMS sufficiency of over 1.6 billion litres as of January 26, 2023 both on land and marine.

But, faulting the claim of NNPC and NMDPRA on the availability of surplus PMS in the country, IPMAN National President, Debo Ahmed, said there has been supply shortage by the door PMS importer, stressing that fuel scarcity and crisis have worsened because of it.

Ahmed noted that the products are not available at filing stations because the oil marketers couldn’t get any from the depots.

He said in Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt and other cities that have depots have not been having the commodity because they didn’t get supply from NNPC.

According to him, a lot of trucks have been at depots including Pinnacle in Lagos without loading furl because the depots told them there is no fuel.

IPMAN President said it was not true that NNPC has the over one billion litres of petrol it claimed, saying such announcement was not new.

Assuming that petrol is available as claimed by NNPC, Ahmed said a good number of depots would have got fuel at the depots they had visited.

Before now, he said that the nation’s petroleum company would ask oil marketers to approach any depots for the product but currently, it has limited it to a few depots and efforts of getting this product from the scanty depots have failed.

For instance, he said there are many depots in Lagos where one can put products and marketers will access it without hassle, but it’s only one that is having petrol as the depot had exhausted its petrol.

Ahmed also said it’s only one depot that is operating in Port Harcourt, as against what was obtainable where NNPC would distribute products to multiple depots across the country for easy supply.

He urged the federal government through NNPC to ensure that it distributes the products it claimed is available to more depots in order for it to get to the retailers.

While lamenting that oil marketers had already pumped a lot of money in the system, Ahmed said there are no products.

Speaking in the same vein, the Deputy National President, IPMAN, Zarma Mustapha, said marketers had yet to feel an improvement in PMS supply because if it has improved, oil marketers would have been accessing the products easily.

He said he wasn’t doubting the volume and the stock NNPC have, but noted that marketers had been facing challenges getting the products at depots.

 

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Economy

Rice Producers Reveal Reasons For Price Hike, Seek Govt’s Subsidy

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Rice

Rice producers in the North East region of Nigeria have revealed reasons why price of rice continues to rise.

The rice farmers and processors described multiple taxes, high costs of electricity, and transportation of the food item to other parts of the state among others as causes of the incessant rise in price of the staple food.

Findings by Investors King showed that rice had been sold in 2018 in Nigeria at the rate of N14,000 per 50-kilogramme bag before it moved to N17,000 in 2019. But the price had gone up to N33,000.

The Federal Government had banned importation of foreign rice, thus giving a boost to the production of local rice that is positioned to replace foreign ones on Nigeria’s dietary palate.

Nigerians had thought that the price of rice would reduce since local production had been supported by the Federal Government, but the reverse appears to be case as farmers have identified government as one of the reasons for the continuous increase in the price of rice.

According to one of the rice farmers, Musa Arab, government bombarded producers of rice with multiple taxations, saying that it was creating more hardship for consumers in buying the item.

Arab, a leading rice farmer and processor in Gombe State and Northeast region, while explaining the peculiarities of rice production in Gombe, said multiple taxations were affecting flow of business in the state, adding that the industrial cluster area in Nasarawa were being inundated with different taxes by the state and local government officials.

According to him, once taxes were considered in the value chain of production, production prices automatically jacked up.

He advised the government to harmonise some of the taxes, so that once producers pay once, they don’t need to pay for another one.

Arab further explained that 50kg of rice is produced at the rate of N24,000, adding that after adding the cost of settling taxes from different quarters, it would add up to N26,000.

He said other factors that make rice price to increase are expensive transportation of the goods, saying that producers used to pay N800 per bag to Port Harcourt but now it is N2,500 per bag as a result of the high price of gas. He added that high cost of transportation also force the producers and retailers to review upward the price of the rice.

The farmer also decried epileptic power supply and high cost of electricity bill as reasons for skyrocketing price of rice.

He said in December, 2022, the rice farmers had an issue with Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) about the power supply, adding that the company installed prepaid metres for them instead of the old method of metering.

The rice producer said the cost of using prepaid metre was adding more pain to the farmers and that the electricity suppliers had been increasing electricity bills on the postpaid metres.

He called on the Federal and State Governments to subsidise the production of rice in the country for the ease of Nigerian Masses.

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Economy

NNPC Identifies Reasons for Nationwide Fuel Crisis, Takes Steps to Tackle Menace

NNPC revealed that another reason for the crisis was that some corrupt marketers were smuggling petrol to neighbouring countries

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Petrol - Investors King

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has identified shortage in the evacuation and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol to marketers as one of the reasons for fuel crisis in Nigeria.

Investors King had reported that long queues had been recorded at petrol stations across the country in the last few months as retailers sell at exorbitant rates ranging between N350 and N600 per litre.

The crisis in the petroleum industry had also forced commercial transporters to jack up their fares as Nigerians, especially commuters, groan owing to the negative effects the crisis has brought on prices of food and other items.

Also, NNPC revealed that another reason for the crisis was that some corrupt marketers were smuggling petrol to neighbouring countries and poaching investors to these countries to sell the smuggled commodity to them.

These were disclosed by the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC, Mele Kyari, while
explaining the fuel supply data for the country since January 2022, during a meeting with stakeholders in Abuja.

He announced that the queues being witnessed at filing stations across the nation would soon clear as the petroleum company has released about 67 million litres of PMS to marketers.

Explaining further how the fuel crisis came to being, Kyari said the moment NNPC goes down below 60 million litres of evacuation consistently for more than three days, there would be a crisis in the sector.

For him, there may be no valid consumption figure, but the evacuation figure is always known, stressing that anytime the evacuation figure goes below 60 million litres daily, crisis would be inevitable across the country.

He recalled when the company recorded the contaminated fuel in early 2022, saying that evacuation came down to 56 million litres on average and that was what caused a crisis then.

Normalcy was then returned, according to the Group Chief Executive Officer when the company ramps up by adding volumes to the market to fill the gaps.

Ever since then, Kyari said NNPC had done everything possible to keep the supply or evacuation above 60 million litres consistently, as he argued that there was no shortage of fuel going into the market, rather the products might be in the wrong destination.

Speaking on the smuggling of the product to neighbouring countries, Kyari said NNPC officials and oil marketers were responsible.

Kyari said the company has evidence that fuel was being smuggled out of Nigeria in marine containers and that some of its customers take investors to other countries.

While promising to investigate the illegal acts and get to the root of it, Kyari assured that appropriate government security agencies would deal with it.

He said there is cross-border smuggling, either in form of round-tripping or whatever name m, stressing that fuel leaves Nigeria through smugglers and thus creating scarcity in the country.

Meanwhile, with the release of the fresh 67 million litres to oil marketers to circulate across the nation, it was observed that long queues that had been the hallmark of most filing stations have been phasing out, even though the price is yet to reduce.

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