Home Oil & Gas Buhari’s administration did not provide required factors for subsidy removal — IPMAN

Buhari’s administration did not provide required factors for subsidy removal — IPMAN

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The National Executive Council of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) has disclosed that following its NEC meeting, NUPENG will release its viewpoint on the ongoing debate surrounding the proposed removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, more commonly known as petrol.

However, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, a significant union in the industry, has opposed subsidy removal, arguing that the action should be suspended because President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration did not provide the required factors for subsidy removal.

Both NUPENG and IPMAN were reacting to the position of their sister union -the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria.

PENGASSAN, in March 2023, called on the Federal Government to stop subsidizing petrol, as well as ensure the speedy rehabilitation of Nigeria’s refineries.

Festus Osifo, the PENGASSAN’s President, had made the call while speaking with journalists at the National Executive Council meeting of the association in Abuja.

Asked whether PENGASSAN was in support of fuel subsidy removal in the absence of any functional domestic refinery, Osifo replied, “Yes!”

But when contacted for the position of NUPENG on the subject, its National President, Williams Akporeha, said the union’s NEC would also have to meet, as he was also quick to state that the association aligned with the Nigeria Labour Congress on the subsidy debate.

Reacting to PENGASSAN’s position on subsidy removal, Akporeha said: “Osifo took that decision after his NEC meeting. So we will also hold our NEC meeting to come out with our own position.

“However, our position is still the same as that of the NLC. We don’t have a separate position from NLC. But again, my NEC will give further directives on that.”

Although the NUPENG president did not state when his executive council would meet, he insisted that the union would not make any official position public until the meeting holds.

When told that some officials of the NLC recently opposed the removal of subsidy, whereas many groups had intensified calls for a halt in the regime, Akporeha replied: “I just said something earlier and I will repeat it.

“The position of the NLC has always been NUPENG’s position. We don’t have separate positions on this matter. But we will still hold our NEC meeting on this issue.”

Also speaking on the issue, the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN Chief Ukadike Chinedu, stated that though the association applauded Buhari for planning to sustain subsidies till he hands over, his (Buhari) regime did not provide the factors required for subsidy removal.

“IPMAN commends the administration of President Buhari for considering not removing fuel subsidy before handing over on May 29, 2023. As the National PRO of IPMAN, we are in support of the fact that the current administration should not remove subsidies.

“This is because the factors that should necessitate the removal of subsidy have not been put in place by this outgoing administration. Our obsolete refineries should work and our pipelines should be repaired in order to move petroleum products from riverine areas to dry lands.

“From there, marketers can be able to load products as quickly as possible to their filling stations without travelling long distances. These are the factors that will aid the smooth transition to a no-subsidy regime,” Ukadike stated.

He explained that when refineries work and the Dangote Refinery comes on stream, it would checkmate the importation of petroleum products and guide against exorbitant prices.

“As independent petroleum marketers, we are the ones who feel the impact on the masses most. So the haste for subsidy removal by the outgoing administration will cause unnecessary hardship and tough times for the incoming administration.

“So our position as IPMAN is that the issue of subsidy removal should be suspended and the incoming administration should be allowed to handle it,” he stated.

Ukadike said IPMAN had earlier discussed with the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, as marketers made it clear that “Tinubu should ensure the provision of factors that will necessitate smooth transition to the no-subsidy regime.”

The IPMAN official added: “All of us agreed that it must be put in place before subsidy is removed. Also, his excellency, represented by Adams Oshiomhole, agreed with us, and assured us that the incoming administration will look at it.”

On the provision of palliatives to cushion the impact of subsidy removal, he stated that this was not the main problem of marketers.

“We acknowledge the issue of palliatives by the Federal Government, but it is not our main problem. Our main problem is for the government to ensure that the refineries are working and the pipelines are restored,” Ukadike stated.

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