The issue of petrol scarcity still persists in the country as Nigerians continue to struggle to get the commodity.
Oil marketers in Nigeria have warned that Nigerians could be buying the Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) at a rate of N800/litre when the subsidy is removed from the commodity.
Last year, the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed disclosed that fuel subsidy would be removed by the Federal Government by the end of June 2023.
While oil marketers are in full support of this, they have however advised the government to put the proper measures and infrastructure in place before taking such action to ensure a less stressful subsidy removal regime.
Speaking on the issue, the Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja (IPMAN), Mr Mohammed Shuaibu warned that the fuel crisis in the country could get worse if the government does not take the right measures.
He also stated that the current fuel crisis isn’t the doings of the oil marketers.
“If the government fails to take the appropriate measures, and they say they want to remove fuel subsidy, the situation will be worse than this, the masses will suffer. How can you remove subsidy and you don’t have this product (petrol),” he said.
“If the government removes subsidy, where is the product? If you are removing subsidy, maybe by that time, the way diesel is sold at between N800 — N900/litre, we could be buying petrol at N800/litre, if not more than that.
“This is because the product will be scarce, even from the government cycle. So the government should tell Nigerians the truth about this fuel supply crisis. It is not a problem caused by marketers.”
Mohammed also said that marketers are ready to sell anytime they have the product but the law of demand and supply and black marketers are reasons why the price of the commodity is currently high.
“As it is today, you have black marketers everywhere selling with jerrycans and you will ask, where are the security agencies and the regulators?
“By tomorrow they will claim that it is the fault of the marketers. How? We are businessmen and every businessman wants to make a profit. You know the law of supply and demand. When the product is scarce, prices will rise, and vice versa.”
While many believe that the Dangote Refinery, which is set to begin operations by March 2023 would address the fuel crisis after the subsidy is removed, the IPMAN secretary believes it could worsen the case.
According to him, the refinery, the refinery might exploit Nigerians because it has no competition unless there are other private refineries in the country.
“By the time you are removing subsidy, you should know that the market is not properly opened and there is no competition,” he began.
“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. 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.
“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.”