Marketers of petroleum products under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) have called for a joint action of stakeholders in the Nigeria economy to find ways to mitigate adverse effects of the imminent increase in the price of petrol.
The marketers’ cartel also canvassed for the replication of the current measure to cut cost of operation in the country’s oil and gas industry to the entire spectrum of the economy, especially governance.
The Chairman of MOMAN and Managing Director of 11Plc, Mr. Tunji Oyebanji, advanced the positions of the association yesterday in a statement he presented at a virtual press briefing hosted in Lagos with the title: ‘After Deregulation, What Next?’.
He said the removal of petrol subsidy and price control would no doubt lead to challenges for Nigerians, adding that debate among stakeholders should now move from the deregulation of downstream sector to fashioning out solutions to the hardship that would be faced by Nigerians.
The 11Plc boss said with a fully deregulated downstream industry, the natural fear and anticipation of Nigerians was the increase in the price of transportation, food items and the attendant economic hardships.
According to Oyebanji, “Solutions to these challenges can only emanate from a collective resolve by all stakeholders to face these challenges together.
“We must, as a country, debate and share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to mitigate the impact of a pump price increase, which could follow a fully deregulated downstream.”
He added: “MOMAN is calling for a national discourse among all stakeholders, including government, labour, civil society organisations, the organised private sector and operators, not on the merits or demerits of petrol subsidy removal, but on the initiatives that can be taken to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on the most vulnerable in our society.
“MOMAN remains committed to the sustainability and institutionalisation of a viable downstream petroleum industry for the social and economic growth of our country, Nigeria.”
Oyebanji said the association stands with Nigeria and Nigerians through difficult time, and supports the federal government’s promise to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) this year and fully deregulate the petroleum downstream sector.
He pointed out that the benefit of a liberalised downstream was the most visible means of growing the economy in the medium to long term.
Oyebanji, however, harped on the need for participants in the fuel supply chain, both operators and regulators, to demonstrate cost optimisation in every practical and public way possible.
On the need to boost domestic refining capacity, he stated that even though refining would not start in Nigeria immediately, as a result of catalogue of diverse and varied reasons, it was necessary that as a country, Nigeria should have some clarity as to when optimal internal refining capacity would return to the country.