The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has said that the time is not right for an upward review of pump price of petrol in view of the current economic situation in the country.
The association, in a presentation at the public hearing at the National Assembly on the review of the price template of Premium Motor Spirit said any attempt to increase fuel price would further impoverish Nigerians and drive up the inflation index.
It argued that all sectors of the economy would be impacted by any fuel price increase, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises and the manufacturing sector.
To address the fuel price crisis, it suggested that the Federal Government should give forex concessions to oil marketers to ease the importation of petroleum products and retain the workforce in the sector.
PENGASSAN called on the government to train operators of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta on better refining methods in order to create meaningful jobs for them and reduce the country’s dependence on imported fuel.
The union stated, “We also call on the government to reduce the sundry charges created by some bodies controlled by the government. For instance, the Nigerian Ports Authority charges, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency charges and storage charges, as they will go a long way to push down the landing cost.
“Inefficiency is also a big challenge. Lightering expenses, which account for about N5.08k per litre, are an example of such transfer of inefficiencies to the consumer. If mother vessels were able to berth in our wharfs, that sum would have been saved.
“The current margin of N2.00 per litre for storage charge is also inexplicable. There is also an urgent need to repair the dilapidated roads scattered across the country, which tankers use for distribution of petroleum products.”
The body reminded the government of the promise it made when the pump price of petrol was increased to N145 in May 2016 that it would provide palliatives and reinvest the gains from the new price to cushion the effects of the increase.
PENGASSAN called on the government to make good its promise to review workers’ wages, rejuvenate the power sector for efficient and effective electricity supply, rehabilitate the rail system, and provide good road networks.
It added, “The refineries’ epileptic state has given room for massive importation of petrol, which is a big weight on our foreign exchange. For us to stop exporting jobs outside our shores, the nation’s four refineries must be made to work optimally and that will go a long way to reducing the heavy cost incurred on importation of petrol.
“Government must set up a pipelines protection agency that will guarantee adequate and safe products’ supplies from the refineries to the various depots in the country.”