IPMAN Laments Secret Return of Fuel Subsidy Payments

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has raised the alarm over alleged secret reintroduction of fuel subsidy payments by the federal government.

In late May, after taking the oath of office, President Bola Tinubu announced the total removal of subsidy on petrol, which saw prices jump to over N600.

The removal of fuel subsidy and the resulting increment in the pump of petrol by almost 300 per cent had quadrupled the inflation rate in the country and affected the purchasing power of Nigerians, especially the middle class and low-income earners.

It was expected that as the price fluctuates in the international oil market, it will lead to changes in the price of petrol and other fuels in Nigeria, but there has been stability over the past months. This could only point to a return of subsidy payments.

This has drawn the wrath of IPMAN, who accused the FG of using proceeds from the Nigeria LNG Limited, NLNG’s, dividends to subsidise fuel, in order to retain fuel prices around N580 – N620 per litre.

According to IPMAN Chairman in Rivers State, Mr Joseph Obele, crude oil prices at the international market currently was above $90 per barrel, yet Nigerians are still buying the commodity at the rate of N600 per litre, which, he said, was unrealistic without subsidy payment.

He recalled that the federal government said it would allow market forces to determine the fuel price, adding the landing cost of petrol was almost N800 per litre following the rise in crude oil prices.

He said: “With the consistent increment in the price of crude oil and rise in foreign exchange rates, it is obvious that the federal government has tactically intervened by closing the price gap in the landing cost of PMS and the pump price of fuel.

“The argument whether the subsidy is back in Nigeria came to an end when a document published by the Federal Account Allocation Committee showed that the Nigerian LNG Limited paid $275 million, an equivalent of N169.4 billion as dividends to Nigeria through NNPC Limited for the month of August.

“The document indicates that NNPC Ltd. used part of the money in question to pay for PMS subsidy for the month of August 2023.

“We are aware that the current NNPC Ltd is not a charitable organization or a government-funded organisation anymore.

“The happenings or effect of external events in the international market will adversely reflect on the pump price of PMS in Nigeria because we solely rely on the importation of PMS from the international market.”

IPMAN further warned that Nigeria’s economy will begin to experience stability only when the nation commences production of petrol in-country.

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