Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Monday opposed the plan by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to enforce his predecessor’s decision to remove fuel subsidy by June ending.
Information Nigeria had reported that the President at his inauguration, affirmed that his administration would not continue to pay subsidy on petroleum products.
He said given the high opportunity cost the Federal Government was suffering to fund subsidies, it was no longer justifiable to continue.
“The fuel subsidy is gone! Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.
“We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor,” the President said
However, IPMAN via its National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said the new government should dialogue with marketers before taking the decision to remove subsidy.
“We are not in support of the removal of fuel subsidy at this time. We have said it repeatedly that our refineries should be fixed before taking such decision that will cause galloping inflation and inflict more hardship on the masses.
“The government of President Tinubu should not adopt what is in the transition document handed over to it by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. Someone (Buhari) who for eight years did not remove subsidy is advising a new government to remove it.
“That is not fair and should not be adopted. Rather the new government should sit and discuss with marketers and other stakeholders on how to manage the fuel subsidy regime. We now have the Dangote Refinery, but all our refineries are still not working, so we don’t think removing subsidy is the right thing to do now,” Ukadike stated.
Chinedu said IPMAN is ready to work with the new government and would proffer measures to address the fuel subsidy regime, instead of effecting an outright halt in subsidy.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) when contacted for its position on the issue, stated that it would not comment on the development now, as it was currently studying the new administration.
“We wouldn’t want to comment on the fuel subsidy removal matter now because we are still studying the situation and the new government of President Tinubu,” the General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, stated.
While IPMAN insisted that subsidy should not be removed without the repairs of Nigeria’s refineries, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) maintained its position that fuel subsidy should stop.
Clement Isong, Executive Secretary, MOMAN, said Nigeria was burning its earnings by paying trillions as subsidy on petrol.
“Currently, we are told that this year that we are to spend about N6tn on subsidy. I am sure that in our hearts we all know that if we invested that N6tn in sustainable programmes, it will grow the economy. It is a better way to go than to burn it in fuel subsidy. We all know this,” he stated.