The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) says its members immediately increased the pump price per litre of petrol from N500 to N560-N617 on Tuesday morning to stay afloat.
IPMAN President, Chinedu Okoronkwo, spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday.
According to him, many IPMAN members have gone out of business due to the removal of subsidy on petrol as they were unable to raise money to load from depots and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
Okoronkwo said with the price adjustment by the NNPCL on Tuesday morning, independent marketers raised their prices at retail outlets to match the reality of the times.
“You need to be in business. If you go back, you will go and buy at a new price. Assuming you are selling N520, then there is a sudden change from where you are getting it, you have to still be in business,” he said.
“Some of my members have gotten to the level of putting products in their tankers, all of a sudden, there was an information that the price has changed. They didn’t load them again. Some are even battling now to see how they can load on that old price and now the new price.”
The IPMAN boss said the timing of the price increment was not the issue but the government must work on how to mitigate the effect of the price adjustment and ease the pressure on the dollar.
However, an ex-President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Peter Esele, faulted the IPMAN boss.
Esele, who was also a guest on Channels Television’s programme on Wednesday, said petrol marketers are taking advantage of the situation to make extra profit, arguing that it is only morally right that marketers sell their old stocks for the old price.
No Respite, Queues Resurface
There seemed to be no respite for Nigerians after President Bola Tinubu, in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, announced the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as petrol.
With the announcement, the pump price of a litre of petrol rose from N184 to N500. About two months later, the price jumped from N500 to over N617 on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, eliciting anger and criticisms from economically stranded citizens.
Fuel queues have immediately resurfaced in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other cities across the country, with vehicle owners engaging in panic buying at the new rate of over N617 per litre, fearing that the price might go up again.
The unprecedented fuel prices come amid the unification of the foreign exchange rates by the Tinubu administration as well as rising inflation rates which the National Bureau of Statistics said hit 22.79% in June from the 22.41% recorded in May 2023.
The report also showed that food inflation spiked to 25.25% on a year-on-year basis which is higher than the 20.60% recorded in June 2022.
Meanwhile, NNPCL Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, on Tuesday, blamed market forces for the rising pump prices of petrol.
He said with deregulation of the oil sector, market realities will force the prices of petrol up sometimes and at other times force the prices down.