The Petroleum Products Retail Outlets owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) have argued that shutting down petrol station outlets nationwide, in the protest by downstream stakeholders of the oil and gas sector against the incessant changes in pump price of petrol, is not the solution.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), on July 1, 2020 raised the pump price of petrol to between N140.80 and N143.80 for July, in one of the highest price movement in the last few months.
In March this year, the government said that going forward the pump price of petrol will be determined by market forces, stating that how much Nigerians will get the product at a retail price will be largely determined by the international prices of crude oil.
The latest price change in the petroleum pump price by PPPRA has drawn various reactions from the downstream stakeholders in the oil and gas sector.
Although, the agency insist that the monthly guiding prices would still allow reasonable returns to operators, many of the stakeholder operators like Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) are dropping hints of a protest march
Speaking in Abuja yesterday in an interview, the President of PETROAN, Dr Billy Gillis-Harry, said although his members are even mostly affected by the price changes, the association believes that a stakeholders meeting involving leaders of the various oil and gas marketing associations, including PETROAN, and elements representing government should be constituted to determine the price changes.
“We think it would be counter-productive to leave the price modulation to the regulatory agency called PPPRA. That would amount to double standard because if an agency is pursuing deregulation and at the same time modulating prices, then something is wrong. The risk is that marketers and even members of the public will become jittery towards the end of the month when a new price regime will be announced,” Billy said
Dr Harry, who is also the chief executive officer of Bilview Energy Ltd, said government should immediately convene a round-table, stakeholders’ engagement between the various downstream group operators, the leadership of PPPRA, NNPC, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), to modulate the pump prices.
The PPPRA has been saddled with the task of determining the pump price of petrol and other refined products in Nigeria, a task he says PPPRA should perform with extensive consultation with all stakeholders. “We all feel the same pain – I mean with our sister unions and associations, but we in PETROAN considers the option of dialogue to ensure that all inputs of stakeholders are properly collated to determine the price of products,” Dr Harry said
According to the PETROAN president, the price variations from March till this July have not been consistent; or followed any pattern. He therefore called on the National Assembly to enact a law that will cover the deregulation policy. “That is part of the problems we are complaining about. We in PETROAN verily support the adopted deregulation, in the belief that it is the best for us all in the sector, and as Nigerians. But I tell you this; we want this deregulation to be backed by law.
“What we have currently is a happenstance that came through a decree during the military regime. Now we have a National Assembly that can engage due process and legalize deregulation now,” Billy, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Bilview Energy, said