IPMAN seeks total deregulation, PDP, TUC urge reversal of petrol price hike, electricity tariff raise
THE Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Monday advised the Federal Government to deregulate the downstream oil sector completely and scrap agencies such as Petroleum Prices and Regulatory Agency (PPRA) and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF).
One of its officials, Igwe Ezekwesili Maduagwuna, in an interview with reporters, commended the Federal Government for taking the bold step on deregulation, but argued that the continued existence of PPRA and PEF would not allow government to achieve the desired result.
He said total deregulation would encourage individuals and organisations to invest in the refining of crude oil in the country.
“Deregulation exposes the oil industry to competitive market, whereby market forces will determine the cost of petroleum products. Having announced deregulation, it has to be total.
“As marketers, we are no longer expected to contribute to the PEF or be subjected to the dictates of the PPRA.
“We want total deregulation because the petroleum products users are accusing marketers of exploitation and profiteering, when it is the regulatory agencies in the industry that are determining the pump prize.
“All we want is a situation whereby government should cease to control the prizes and allow the Pipelines and Petroleum Marketing Company (PPMC) to merely act as marketers by sourcing their products like other marketers.
“It might be difficult in the first six months, for instance, but after that period, the market will start taking shape. People will start importing their products and may even be selling below what the government is talking about.
“Since the prize of the finished product is determined by the price of crude oil and the exchange rate, the PPPRA and PEF should be scrapped and that is when Nigerians will really say there is deregulation,” Maduagwuna, who is also the traditional ruler of Oba Ofemili, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order an immediate reversal of the recent hike in electricity tariff and increase in price of petrol.
Specifically, TUC gave the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse the two policies which it said are hurting the masses.
The Caucus also wants Buhari to halt the implementation of the 7.5 per cent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), stamp duty and other increases in tax, saying the focus of the government should be how to ameliorate the pains and sufferings of an already hardworking, but traumatised people of Nigeria rather than impose more hardship on them.
In a statement signed by Leader of the Caucus, Hon Kingsley Chinda, the lawmakers reminded the government the provisions of Section 14 sub-section 2(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
He said: “The effect of these unsavoury economic policies is hyperinflation which has affected even the most basic food items and services in the market. The compound negative effect on security, physical and mental health and wellbeing cannot be over emphasised.
“Nigerians have gotten to the end of their tenders and will resist further draconian and non-people-oriented policies, as the Federal Government has consistently flouted the contract of good governance entered with the people as enshrined in Chapter Two of the Constitution”
Chinda reminded the president that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted great hardship globally and have seen most economies fluttering, saying: “Most, if not all responsive governments, have devised innovative people-oriented interventions and opening new frontiers to reducing tax burdens on their citizens to stimulate their economies and cushion the unfortunate effect of the pandemic.
TUC has given the Federal Government seven days to reverse recent increase in the price of petrol and reversal in the hike of electricity tariff by the Distribution Companies (DisCos).