Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Independent Petroleum Marketers, under the umbrella of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have said they are ready to compete in a liberalised downstream petroleum market in Nigeria following the recent introduction of new pump price of petrol.
IPMAN said recently in Abuja that a liberalised downstream oil and gas industry would engender competition and likely force down products prices, adding that it is willing to fully engage in the sector.
The factional President of IPMAN, Mr. Obasi Lawson made this observation in an interview with journalists. He urged Nigerians to ignore calls for industrial action against the policy.
Lawson however admitted that people will initially feel the pain from the policy implementation, but assured that its benefits would begin to accrue to Nigerians within a month.
“The new policy of the federal government that effected the change in price of PMS is a welcome development. We members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) welcome the policy because it is going to bring about total libralisation and also engender competition in the industry,” said Lawson.
He further said: “We have also put arrangement in place to import petroleum products so that we can serve our members.
“The policy is a good development so the issue of strike should be ignored. In fact, we are calling on all our members to go about their normal businesses and keep their petrol stations open.”
Lawson also stated that about 7,000 tickets of petrol worth up to N20 billion, some of which were as old as one year were tied up in the loading system of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He subsequently expressed optimism that it will be easier to get the tickets released in the new pump price regime.
According to him, it was pertinent that the market be opened up for other stakeholders to participate fully. He noted the NNPC would not be able to fulfil the country’s consumption demands.
Lawson called on Nigerians to be patient as the new policy will be beneficial to all at the end, stressing that tight as the new pump price may seem, IPMAN was looking forward to a gradual price decrease that will accommodate all stakeholders in the near future.
He also urged the federal government to release the proposed palliatives as quickly as possible to cushion the effects of the hike.
The government had recently announced a new pump price for petrol which it said should not be above N145 per litre.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu said the decision was taken to ensure improved supply and competition in the downstream and eventually drive down pump prices, as was experienced with diesel.