Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria advises President Goodluck Jonathan not to succumb to pressures to remove subsidy on kerosene as doing so could spark off a national revolt
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Mar. 3, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
INDEPENDENT Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, has urged the federal government to resist any pressure on it to remove subsidy on kerosene now until an alternative and cheaper energy source is in place. Aminu Abdulkadri, national president, IPMAN, said any attempt to remove the subsidy would spark off a revolt in the country. He said the shortage and high cost of kerosene in the country were because the country was still importing based on the 2003 consumption template of seven million litres daily whereas demand had since soared due to population growth and industrial demand.
“About seven to 10 million litres are supplied but our national consumption today is over 15 million litres daily. There is a shortfall in supply and therefore the law of demand and supply sets in and people think there is no subsidy. I was on Channels television and I told them that this subsidy on kerosene for now is a necessary evil. You can never run away from it because there is nowhere in the world, including America and Britain, where it is done. I travel all over the world; I have partners all over the world because I am a street marketer and I am one of the captains of the industry in this country. I am one of the major transporters in this country, so what else can somebody tell me about oil and gas?
“I said look, in any nation, if you want to replace something, there must be something in place. Therefore, what is required now is to start thinking of how to make this product to reach the remote areas beyond even filling stations. I think this is the angle that Nigerians should have come in, not removal. Now, we should be thinking of how to improve on the LPG that the minister has been talking about. LPG is the only ready-made product that can replace kerosene but this will take us three to five years. It’s a long time process. Now, we would have to also put more efforts in making sure that our LPG which is far cheaper for the masses is there. Today, in my commercial and NIPCO Plc, the largest oil terminal in this country, we have the largest LPG plant in this country and it’s the first most automated terminal in this country.
“Before now, the price of gas cylinder (30kg) was running into about N25,000, but now, we have brought it to about N11,000 and this only happens with the support of the current minister of petroleum resources. She has been giving us that support. Therefore, the minister needs to put more efforts on LPG as against continued and endless subsidy on kerosene so that as the subsidy is being withdrawn from the market, the masses can get something in place. But if you remove subsidy on kerosene without any replacement, what are you looking for? You are looking for a revolt. You can’t be enjoying here and you go to your village and they can’t access anything to cook food and you ask them, don’t cut the trees because of deforestation. Again, you say the kerosene that is meant for them is not there, what do you expect..? This move by some people to cause a revolt is a combination of politics by some big fish around, including those who just lost their positions and so many factors,” he said.
Abdulkadri also denied the allegation of bribery against officials of the ministry of petroleum and the NNPC, saying that the claim was untrue as those making it were not members of his association. “What they have done is a disgrace because at the end of the day, the NNPC and the ministry will come out clean. More so, it is unfortunate that those guys are faceless. If such money is there, I deserve to have my own cut. That’s why I say to the secretary, come, who are these faceless marketers? I need to know them. I think the problem with the system is that there is a certain gap that exists which is being filled because there was nobody to fill it, now faceless marketers are filling it.”
Apart from these, Abdulkadri said IPMAN has started the sale of kerosene at N50 per litre in all states of the South West under the IPMAN kero-direct scheme. He said the scheme was introduced by the minister of petroleum resources to ensure that Nigerians get the product at the regulated price. He said the scheme kick started in Lagos with about 30 filling stations. “We are here to ensure that kerosene is sold at N50 per litre as instructed by Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, and it is being implemented by the group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, through IPMAN. That’s why we are here to ensure that consumers are aware of the price,” he said.
The IPMAN president said that all products given to IPMAN by the NNPC would be sold at N50 per litre in Lagos and its environs. Abdulkadri said that the gesture was being spread all over the country. “When I leave here, I will travel to Kano, Sokoto, Gombe, Maiduguri, Bauchi and other axis. This is not meant for Lagos alone, but it is a national product and therefore, it should be given to all,” he said.
Abdulkadri, however, warned marketers to ensure that kerosene was sold at the approved price, adding that the leadership of IPMAN would not hesitate to sanction erring marketers. “So, what Nigerians should be looking up is to ensure that the .product being imported should be accessed by the masses. Nigerians need to enjoy the dividends of democracy and not just the politicians,” he said.