Kunle Olayeni, Abeokuta
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), South West Zone, has threatened to stop lifting petroleum products in all depots in the region to protest recent increase in fuel pump price.
The South West Zonal Chairman of IPMAN, Alhaji Dele Tajudeen, in a statement Sunday, berated the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) for announcing new price regime without adequate consideration of the welfare of petroleum marketers.
The PPPRA had, on July 1, announced a new price band of N140.80 to N143.80 per litre of petrol, up from N121.50 to N123.50.
Tajudeen, who described the increment as unfair and inhuman, declared that the PPPRA was not consistent and not organised in dealing with the stakeholders.
The IPMAN boss said the normal thing to have done was to involve marketers and other parties before announcing any increment.
He chided the PPPRA for announcing the new price regime in the pump price of fuel without adequate consideration of the welfare of IPMAN members, most of whom, he claimed, conduct their businesses with bank loans.
Tajudeen, however, said the IPMAN Executive Committee in the zone had resolved to embark on a strike if the government failed to look into the issue.
He said: “It is very disheartening to hear that a new price regime is coming to effect, without considering the plight of marketers who bought these products at an expensive price.
“We want to categorically state here that the last time when Federal Government put the price at N145, we still complained that it was inadequate but now we can describe it as worse.
“In May this year, when the price was cut to N125.00k, many of our members ran into debts as the landing cost and ex depot price were at a loss, to pay bank loans became a serious issues for us.
“And the Federal Government needs to know that some of us obtained loans from banks to run this business and we have to pay interest on them.
“We are still struggling with debts incurred before this increase with nothing to show for it. Or how can somebody work with only N2.00, and yet we will pay workers, service the loans and also fulfill our obligations to the government?
“Our members had lost close to N100million as a result of unexpected reduction of pump price in recent times as many were having large volumes of petroleum products in their storage prior to such reductions. And while still grasping huge loss many of which were bank loans, the NNPC/ PPPRA again did further monthly reduction.
“In every country where deregulations are in place, government make room for such loss by going to stations to know actual stock of volumes in order to cushion loss for marketers. This is not the case for our IPMAN members except for private depot owners and major oil marketers.
“Yes, it is mandatory that we meet the needs of FIRS, pay state taxes, DPR fees, pay weight and measure fees, pay salaries of our workers, pay union dues, pay our insurance fees and, of course, buy diesel to power generators at our various filling stations. So, when we removed all these expenses, we are left with almost nothing.”
The IPMAN boss further decried the failure of government to consider members of the association for palliatives or compensation for losses during the lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.