Major Oil Marketers Suggest Gradual DeregulationTo Reduce Fuel Scarcity
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has advocated for gradual reduction of subsidy of Premium Motor Spirit or petrol while investing and perhaps subsidizing mass transportation and productive activities in areas such as agriculture.
According to the association: “Having subsidized PMS for so long, Nigerian institutions now have a diminished capacity to deal with the current international energy crisis. If the country had spent monies spent on subsidies on education, health and infrastructure, Nigerians and Nigerian businesses would have been better equipped to face today’s energy challenges”
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Olumide Adeosun, Chairman, MOMAN, stated this on Wednesday during a virtual consumer protection workshop for Oil Marketers by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
The MOMAN boss lamented the lingering fuel scarcity across the country, and blame the situation on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine which had disrupted global energy supply distribution.
He likened the current situation to the COVID-19 pandemic era with some countries moving to halt exportation of petrol in favour of their own national energy securities.
He maintained that it would be difficult to enforce any kind of price control mechanism on marketers who had to slightly adjust their prices based on how much they bought products from the depots.
The MOMAN chairman said the way forward was a phased deregulation of PMS by the Federal Government to reduce the shock on consumers.
Adeosun said the gradual price deregulation should be followed with targeted palliatives in the areas of transportation and agricultural subsidies to the public to ease implementation.
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He said the huge amount spent on petrol subsidy over the years would have been deployed to other critical areas that could have reduced the impact of the current energy crisis on Nigerians.
Adeosun empathised with Nigerians and the Federal Government who had been bearing the huge subsidy cost, adding that the government was working assiduously to mitigate the effects of the situation on the economy.
He said as the nation was moving towards full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector, MOMAN he said would continue to collaborate with the FCCPC to ensure the protection of the rights of consumers.
“Finally, everyone has a role to play. We must all reduce consumption and find other ways to weather the current energy crisis as no Government can make this painless. Predictably, as a country, we shall be faced by the choice of queues and unavailability of products or increases in price at the right pace to make product available,” he said.
Earlier, Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman, FCCPC, has charged oil marketers to shun anti-competitive conducts and other acts that would short-changed consumers.
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Irukera, who represented by Adamu Abdullahi, Executive Commissioner, Operations, FCCPC, reiterated the commission’s commitment to the protection of consumers from exploitation.
While making his presentation, Ikem Isiekwena, a lawyer and Partner at Simmons Coopers, urged MOMAN to promote efficient health, environmental, safety and quality related industry processes in accordance with the provisions of the FCCPC Act.
He also urged the marketers to liase and coordinate with specific industry regulators and its members on consumer protection issues.
Isiekwena tasked MOMAN with monitoring the conduct of its players to ensure compliance and act as an information hub for industry related consumer protection enquires.