MARKETERS have faulted the process followed by President Bola Tinubu in the removal of subsidies on petrol, saying measures that ought to have been in place before the removal were not taken.
The marketers insisted that the nation’s refineries ought to have been operational and issues around foreign exchange resolved before the petrol subsidy was removed.
It comes on the day fuel queues began to emerge in Abuja with most independent and indigenous major outlets shut down. Check by Vanguard around the city showed that outlets owned by A.A. Rano, AY Shafa, and Shema Petrol were shut. However stations owned by TotalEnergies, Mobil, and Conoil were opened but their pump had increased to N619 per litre from N617.
Speaking during the National Executive Council meeting of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria, NOGASA, in Abuja, the marketers questioned the Federal Government’s inability to end the illicit trading of dollars in the country.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, PETROAN, Mr. Billy Gillis-Harry noted that while the marketers support the decision of the government to end subsidy on petrol, the implementation was faulty.
Mr. Gillis-Harry, who was not impressed by the government push for Compressed Natural Gas as an alternative to petrol, observed that it costs about $350,000 to set one CNG station.
“Where is that money going to come from in an environment that is not stable and viable? The government needs to do more. The refineries need to work and importation needs to end”, he added.
Speaking at the meeting, NOGASA President, Mr. Benneth Korie warned that the downstream in the country was under serious pressure as stations were shutting down due harsh operational conditions.
Mr. Korie pointed out that “depot owners are so terribly affected by the increasing cost of the crude and exchange rate to the extent that many depots are practically deserted as their owners are unable to secure bank loans to fund their business due to high interest rates.
“Banks are not willing to guarantee funds release to stakeholders as a result of the difficulty, instability and galloping rates of foreign exchange and high cost of the dollar. Many depots are presently dried up or out of stock, and this is no gainsaying as it is evidently verifiable.
“Worst hit are filling stations whose owners find it extremely difficult to secure funds to procure products for their retail outlets and both the independent and major marketers are so terribly affected that as at today, filling stations are shutting down in great numbers on a daily basis and dealers are going out of business with many more on the verge of bankruptcy because of their inability to secure funds to facilitate orders for their stations.
“Government must therefore urgently come to the aid of the industry as quickly as possible to save it from an impending colossal collapse which will in turn result in a more devastating blow to the economy at large. Indeed, the success of this government highly depends on the survival of the oil industry, whose critical stakeholders are presently most negatively affected”, he added.