The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), said yesterday, that its support for the Federal Government over the planned removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), stems from the realization that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 16 makes no provision for subsidy.
Besides, IPMAN President, Chinedu Okoronkwo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that his association has consistently “advised the government to remove petrol subsidy because it is not in the interest of development of the downstream sector.”
But the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) threatened, yesterday, to shut down the country should the Federal Government go ahead with the planned fuel subsidy removal.
The students’ body also rejected the government’s plan to pay N5,000 transport allowance to 40 million Nigerians to cushion the effect of soaring fuel prices.
Okoronkwo, in the NAN interview, said: “We welcome the decision of the government to stop subsidising petrol by 2022 and we are hoping it will attract more investments to the sector, especially with the passage of PIA.”
He added: “What we want is that a level playing field be provided for everyone in the sector to encourage competition once the subsidy is removed.”
Also speaking on the issue, the immediate-past President, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Tunji Oyebanji, said continued subsidising of petrol was not sustainable in light of current economic realities.
He said the 2022 deadline was realistic and its impact might be mitigated with the coming on stream of the 650,000BPD Dangote Refinery, Bua Group Refinery, Waltersmith Refinery and other modular refineries.
Oyebanji, who is the Managing Director of 11 Plc, however, faulted the plan to replace the subsidy with cash transfer to Nigerians due to lack of a reliable data base in the country.
“In my personal opinion, I am of the view that such funds should be channeled to areas like education and mass transportation that would be accessible to ordinary Nigerians,” Mr Oyebanji said.
An oil and gas expert, Wilson Opuwei, said the conversation about fuel subsidy in Nigeria “should have been a thing of the past because it was an obvious wastage of the nation’s resources”.
Mr Opuwei, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Dateline Energy Services Ltd., maintained that the elite were the major beneficiaries of the fuel subsidy regime.
He said: “We should let market forces determine the price of petrol and other products, not the government dolling out subsidies with funds that we don’t even have.”