THERE were indications, Monday, that stakeholders would soon emerge with a new price of petrol as the landing cost of the product rose from N151 to N180 per litre, due mainly to rising price of crude oil in the international market.
The rise of crude oil price from $58 to more than $63 per barrel, yesterday, culminated in refiners incurring additional cost in the process of procuring, refining and supplying petrol to consumers, thus causing marketers to also incur additional cost, especially as a bulk of the product is currently imported into the nation.
Nevertheless, it was gathered that the pump price could rise from N162 to about N190 per litre when the marketers’ margins and other considerations are added.
However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has summoned the major marketers, independent marketers and other stakeholders to a crucial meeting, which was ongoing at the time of writing this report.
Informed sources in the sector, who pleaded anonymity, said stakeholders were generally opposed to further increase in price in order not to cause instability in the sector, and by extension the nation’s economy, meaning that the NNPC would continue to bear the burden of subsidy as the government did not make provision for it in the 2021 budget.
However, speaking virtually on, ‘After Deregulation, What Next?’ in Lagos, February 11, 2021, Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, Chairman, MOMAN, had said: “With a fully deregulated downstream industry, the natural fear and anticipation of Nigerians is the increase in the price of transportation, food items, and the attendant economic hardships.
“Solutions to these challenges can only emanate from a collective resolve by all stakeholders to face up to these challenges together. We must as a national debate and share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to mitigate the impact of a pump price increase that could follow a fully deregulated downstream.
“We stand with Nigeria and Nigerians through this difficult time and support the Federal Government’s promise to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB this year and fully deregulate the petroleum downstream sector.
“The benefit of a liberalized downstream is the most visible means of growing the economy in the medium to long term. Nigeria can become the refining hub of West and Central Africa and eventually the whole of Africa if we stick to this path of investing in new refineries, adopting a cost optimization initiative, building an environment that promotes competition, and creates a sustainable petroleum sector. These actions would lead to increased employment, reduced poverty, and reduced social inequity. We must take advantage of the opportunities brought by the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) and fully benefit from our barrels of crude, getting the maximum value it can bring Nigeria.
“MOMAN is calling for a national discourse among all stakeholders including Government, Labour, Civil Society Organizations, the Organized Private Sector, and Operators, not on the merits or demerits of petrol subsidy removal, but on the initiatives that can be taken to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on the most vulnerable in our society.”
He had also said: “The public, which includes the downstream operators, are key stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
“We believe that as a country, we have and should move beyond the debate on the arguments for the removal of petrol price subsidies. The discussion we should be having today is how best to maximise the benefits of the removal of price controls and subsidies while minimizing the adverse effects of this action on our citizens.”