Oil marketers have warned the federal government that gasoline may soon sell for N800 per liter.
Punch's report states that marketers assert that the price of gasoline will skyrocket once the PMS subsidy is removed.
Operators of the industry had repeatedly stated that the prolonged crisis in the downstream oil sector was caused by the high cost of the fuel subsidy, which was a burden on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited. The only company that brings petrol into Nigeria is NNPC.
Recently, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, made the suggestion that the government gradually withdraw the PMS subsidy, pointing out that the budgetary allocation for the subsidy would run out in June.
However, according to oil marketers, Nigerians should be aware that the price of gasoline could exceed N800 per liter once the commodity was no longer subsidized, despite the fact that it might be beneficial to eliminate subsidies.
Before implementing the decision, they urged the Federal Government to ensure that all of the necessary measures and infrastructure were in place to make the subsidy removal process less stressful.
“The situation will be worse than this, and the masses will suffer if the government fails to take the necessary measures and declares that they want to end the fuel subsidy. Mohammed Shuaibu, Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, made the following statement: "How can you remove subsidy when you do not have this product (petrol)?"
He continued, "Where is the product if the government eliminates subsidies?" If you remove subsidies, we might be able to purchase gasoline at N800 per liter, if not more, by the time diesel is no longer sold at prices between N800 and N900 per liter.
This is because the product, even from the government cycle, will be scarce. Therefore, the government ought to inform Nigerians of the truth regarding the fuel supply crisis. It is not the fault of marketers.
According to Shuaibu, oil marketers were prepared to sell, pointing out that queues vanished when marketers received products a few weeks ago.
"However, as it is now, you will ask, where are the security agencies and regulators? There are black marketers everywhere selling with jerrycans." He pressed.
"By tomorrow they will claim that it is the marketers' fault," the IPMAN official added. How? Since we are businesspeople, we all want to make money. You are aware of the supply and demand law. Prices will rise when there is a lack of the product, and vice versa.
He explained that the downstream sector was not structured for adequate competition, adding that this could also pose challenges when subsidy was eventually removed.
He said, “By the time you are removing subsidy, you should know that the market is not properly opened and there is no competition. They always tell you about Dangote Refinery. We must understand that Dangote is a privately owned company.
“The pipelines of that facility were not even designed to run in any Nigerian state, rather it was designed to run to neighbouring countries, and maybe that one in Lekki there, that is all.
“So, more or less, that refinery might still exploit us, because when there is no competition, the only supplier calls the shots. For had it been that as Dangote is producing in Lagos, another person is producing in Warri, while one refinery is pumping in Abuja, then there will be competition.”
He continued, “We can see, for instance, the competition in the telecommunications sector today. But the government will continue to deceive us that Dangote Refinery will come on stream, when we know that it cannot really solve the problem.”
He argued that most of the pipes of the refinery were laid to neighbouring countries to supply them gas, stressing that Nigeria should not completely rely on the facility.
“They should not continue to be singing it as if it is what will solve our fuel supply problems,” the IPMAN official stated.
Meanwhile, the scarcity and hike in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol, has generated an outcry from users of the commodity, especially motorists, who have directed their anger at the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The commodity, which has an official price of N185, is being sold at higher prices by filling stations across the country.
This is in addition to the long queues of vehicles that often add to the woes of Nigerians due to the traffic they cause when they spill into main roads.
According to one Instagram user, @paschal_dheyvid, who bought the commodity at N200 per litre, he had to pay N1, 000 to gain entrance into the filling station and still had to join a long queue.
The same situation was experienced by a Twitter user, @thatboyyouhate, who said, “I was at a filling station this morning and they had to take N1, 000 from me for my 25-litre keg.”
An Instagram user, @charlessoronnadimotors, said he bought the commodity at “N420 per litre here in Aboh Mbaise, Imo State.”
Twitter user, @supapraise, lamented the long hours he spent in the queue at a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation filling station in Port Harcourt before he could buy the commodity.
He wrote, “I spent 11hrs (5am to join an already long queue. I left at 4pm) at the NNPC filling station in PH. I bought for N189. That morning, it was N179. They paused selling and adjusted the metre to the new price of N189. Paused selling again to maintain their generator since there was no NEPA electricity.”
Expressing anger at the APC which is seeking to remain in power in 2023, one @RexAgu1 said, “N360 per litre. APC has failed the unborn kids. They have removed subsidy without letting Nigerians know.”
On his part, one @King_Olivertwit sarcastically said, “APC supporters are buying it for N50/L while others are buying it for N350 to as much as N500 per litre.”
One Pascal Nwankwo, @pascalnwankwo7, blamed the situation on the APC, adding, “…and some misguided fellows are still campaigning for the APC.”
On Instagram, one @malaro44 laid curses on those still working to ensure that the APC retained the Presidency after the end of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). He said, “People voting APC, may everything about APC never depart from your household… the suffering, the hardship, the kidnapping and insecurity.”