FG Insincere With Deregulation, Say Oil Marketers
Oil marketers yesterday accused the Federal Government of paying lip service to the implementation of total deregulation of the downstream oil sector, especially as it affects domestic consumption of premium motor spirit (PMS) or petrol.
The government had, a long time ago, deregulated the market of diesel, aviation fuel and cooking fuel known as kerosene.
Acting under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), the group faulted the meddlesomeness of the government at interfering with the pump price of the product, a situation it said is antithetical to the spirit of deregulation.
Its Chairman, Tunji Oyebanji, in a telephone conversation, said as the situation stood today, the Federal Government is still determining the pump price of the product in the market, arguing that the preference of the marketers is an authentic deregulation in which case, the market forces of demand and supply determine the prices that are agreeable to the final consumers.
Oyebanji, who is the CEO of 11 Plc, said what the Federal Government says is different from what it does.
He said: “What the government says is that it wants deregulation. However, we from time to time we see situations that are confusing such as the announcement that the government and labour have agreed to a certain reduction in the pump price of petrol.
“PPRA has recently unveiled guidelines which will determine how things are done in the industry. This is not consistent with deregulation.
“We like the Federal Government’s pronouncement about deregulation but their action is not consistent with the spirit of deregulation. We are however hoping that the government will live to its promise this year.”
Oyebanji faulted the argument that if the price of petrol was left to the whims and caprices of market forces, considering that crude oil is subject to the volatility and shock of the international community, it might go far beyond what would be affordable by the average Nigerians.
According to him, Nigerians are also members of the global community that depend on the importation of other products that are subject the instability in foreign exchange (forex).
He said should the exchange rate fall to about N600/$, would the country stop the importation and consumption of essential goods.
He said the root of the problem was that Nigerians were used to price fixing and wondered if the prices of crude oil went up in the international market, country would stop exportation of the commodity for that fact.
Oyebanji said the propensity of Nigerians to waste is what must be stopped. He said the habit of one person putting three, four, five cars on the road simultaneously is what must be addressed to adjust and save cost.