Petrol marketers have called for urgent intervention by the federal government to arrest the fast increase in the pump price of diesel to prevent imminent distribution crisis.
The marketers said petrol scarcity is imminent in the country as they can no longer sustain the distribution of petrol and other products nationwide with the price of diesel used to power their trucks now selling for N1,100/litre in many locations.
This is as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), in a sweeping reorganisation exercise, compulsorily retired all its management staff with less than 15 months to statutory retirement with immediate effect.
Also, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has declared that Nigeria would no longer welcome investment crumbs from multinational energy firms.
The marketers, under the aegis of Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers’ Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), raised the alarm yesterday.
The association’s president, Mr Benneth Korie, said that diesel had witnessed incessant hikes in prices in recent months, a development worsened by marketers’ inability to secure cheap bank loans that will enable them restock and sell petrol at the current petrol price of N617/litre.
Korie lamented that the rapidly-rising diesel price was evidently causing hardships in haulage transportation and commuting alike.
He, therefore, called on the government to intervene before the sector gets grounded and derails the anticipated growth.
The NOGASA president assured that finding lasting solutions to the incessant hikes in diesel price is a major issue that will be addressed by the union at its annual general meeting coming up in October.
“NOGASA is worried about the ugly development and is trying to understand why prices of diesel are going as high as N950 to N1,100 per litre in the market with a view to moderating the prices and shocks in the economy,” he said.
Experts, however, say the hike in diesel price may stem from the rise in crude oil price, which currently stands at $95 per barrel. Another factor is the naira slump, which is inching towards N1,000/$1 in the parallel exchange rate market.
Korie advised that Nigeria refineries should be given emergency attention by the government to ensure rising energy cost does not derail the economy.
“We will continue to deliver on our mandate as we make progress in the oil and gas Industry.
“We advise that suppliers should go about their respective businesses until proper resolution will be taken at the NEC meeting”, Korie stated.