Afenifere, PANDEF, PDP Kick as FG Raises Petrol Price

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kola ologbondiyan
Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan
  • IPMAN directs members to sell at N162

Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, Emmanuel Addeh and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The federal government yesterday came under fire from the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, its Niger Delta counterpart, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the hike in the ex-depot price of petrol from N138 to N151.56 per litre.

The ex-depot price is the amount depot owners and marketers pay to lift products from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) storage facilities.

With the increase, the pump price of the commodity, which is within the N145-N148 per litre band, would shoot up to about N162.
Already, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has directed its members in the South-west region of the country to begin the sale of petrol at N162 per litre.

Earlier yesterday, the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, which has recently taken over the communication of the new prices, had said the N151.56 depot price took immediate effect.

A memo from PPMC to Ibadan stakeholders, including depot owners, which was signed by D.O Abalaka, sighted by THISDAY, directed all operators to abide by the new price review.

Others stakeholders copied in the circular included the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), NNPC Retail, major and independent marketers as well as northern bridgers.

The circular said: “To this end, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) is now one hundred and fifty-one naira, fifty-six kobo (N151.56k) per litre. This is effective from September 2, 2020.”

Before now, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) was vested with officially communicating what it described as “price bands” or ‘’guiding prices’’ for each month.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, also recently said PPPRA would now communicate directly with the marketers just like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does with the banks, rather than releasing the monthly figures to the public.

Although the federal government said the downstream part of the petroleum industry has been deregulated, it added that it could not fully hands-off the sector to prevent extortion by marketers.

Monthly product prices incorporate landing cost, margins for the marketers, dealers, transporters, jetty-depot throughput and taxes paid to government agencies.

In July, the federal government raised the price of petrol to between N140.80 and N143.80, while in August it sold for between N145 and N148 per litre in most parts of the country.

Following this development, IPMAN has directed its members in the South-west region to sell petrol at N162 per litre.

IPMAN South-west Zonal Chairman, Alhaji Dele Tajudeen, in a telephone interview with journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, said his members would sell at that price to cover their cost and a profit margin.

He said IPMAN members would have to make provision for the cost of diesel to run their generator that would power the dispensing machines; pay the cost of transporting the fuel from the depot to their respective filling stations and also settle their statutory levies with the appropriate regulatory agencies.

However, in a reaction, PDP rejected the fresh increase in the price of fuel and electricity tariffs, describing it as callous, cruel and punishing.

The party demanded an immediate reversal of the prices to avert a national crisis, adding that the increase would result in an upsurge in costs of goods and services and worsen the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians.

According to a statement by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, “Our party asserts that by increasing the price of fuel from the N87 per litre it sold under the PDP to an excruciating N151 while at the same time allowing the hike in electricity tariffs from N30.23 per kWh to over N66, the APC has left no one in doubt that its agenda is to inflict pain and hardship on Nigerians to satisfy their selfish interests.

“The unjustifiable increase in the price of these essential supplies, coming barely a week after APC brazenly posted support for the fuel price hike, while attempting to rationalise the excruciating hardship being suffered by Nigerians under the Buhari administration has further confirmed that APC is at the centre of the harsh policies of the Buhari Presidency.”

PDP said it was distressing that the APC administration increased the cost of essential commodities at the time the leadership of other countries were offering palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said: “We know that APC is an unfeeling party but it is indeed shocking that it could go to the extent of approving such a hike at this trying time, when many Nigerians are struggling to afford staple foods and other necessities of life.

“Our party challenges APC and the Buhari administration to publish the parameters with which it arrived at the increase of fuel price to N151 per litre given that with the prevailing values in the international market, the appropriate price template for domestic pump price in Nigeria ought not to be above N100 per litre.”

Afenifere and PANDEF, in their separate reactions, wondered why the federal government would want to further impoverish the people with the fuel price at this trying period.

Spokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told THISDAY that the latest development was the fallout of the fake promises made to the electorate by APC to assume power over five years ago.

He also flayed Nigerians who he said failed to hold politicians to account for promises made to them during campaigns.
He said: “This is coming from those who made all fake promises to them before they got power. It is a reward for people who don’t hold politicians accountable for their words.”

PANDEF condemned the increase in the pump price of petrol, saying it was unfortunate that Nigerians were continuously being made to pay for the inefficiencies of the government and its agencies.

The group’s National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson, said: “How can the government even consider increasing the pump price of fuel again at this time in the face of the COVID-19-induced socio-economic challenges when citizens are struggling to carry on with everyday living?

“Many businesses are barely managing to survive; workers in the private sector are either not being paid salaries or being sacked. And it is in the face of such damning situations that the government has again introduced conditions in the guise of a fraudulent deregulation regime that has reportedly warranted the increase in the pump price of fuel in the country.

“The action is insensitive, callous, and clearly anti-citizens and is definitely going to adversely impact on citizens’ livelihood and I wonder why do the people have to always bear the painful consequences of the failures of government?”

He called on the federal government to rescind the latest price increase so as not to further add to the hardship Nigerians are facing.
He stated: “It is unfathomable that a country said to be the sixth-largest oil-producing country in the world, has, paradoxically, for decades, depended on imported fuel products to meet domestic needs, due to lack of refining capacity. And we have four refineries in the country that have largely become economic drainpipes. Why do we have to continue like this? Why can’t citizens optimally benefit from a commodity that we produce, in abundance?”

Also, the Advocacy for Integrity and Economic Development (AIED) described the increase in the price of petrol and the upward review of electricity tariffs by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) as “draconian anti-masses policy by a heartless administration.”

In a press statement issued yesterday by its Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. O’Seun John, the organisation urged the federal government to revert to the initial price of petrol and electricity tariff.

“All over the world, people are just starting to pick up the pieces of their livelihood after months of economic decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While responsible governments are giving out tax relives, grants and offering succour to the citizens, including cash benefits and free electricity, the present government has chosen this low time in the lives of Nigerians to further elevate their suffering,” it said.

 

Nigerians Supported Price Increase, Says APC

Meanwhile, APC has said the reviewed petrol pricing template has the support of Nigerians.

APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, in a statement issued yesterday, said successive PDP governments foisted on the country a corruption-tainted fuel subsidy regime.

Nabena noted that under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the tortuous fuel queues as a result of biting scarcities are gone.
He stated: “The reviewed petroleum products pricing template has resulted in a more transparent, efficient and realistic pricing system for petroleum products and also resulted in a constant availability of fuel nationwide.

“The pricing template now reflects competitive and market-driven components, which is supported by the citizenry.”

Nabena noted that an effort by the APC administration to put an end to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity, made Buhari to recently direct a nationwide mass metering programme for electricity consumers in the country.

“For PDP that is only concerned with pushing the interest of its few cronies over the general interest and welfare of the citizenry, we don’t expect PDP to grasp the import of this landmark presidential directive, which aside improving electricity and service delivery is also protecting the poor and vulnerable Nigerians from increased electricity tariff and arbitrary/estimated billings,” he said.

The ruling party said the federal government is already working to ensure that Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) commit to increasing the number of hours of electricity supply every day and also improve on their quality of service.

Nabena said, perhaps, PDP was also unaware that the current administration has approved a one-year waiver of import levy on electricity meters, so that Nigerians who do not have meters could be supplied as early as possible at a reasonable cost.

APC called on PDP to wake up to the new Nigeria where the government works for the citizens and not for a few interests.