• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Petrol price slash: Demand for further cut grows

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Organised labour and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) across the country on Monday demanded for further reduction in the prices of petroleum products, a day after the Federal Government reduced the price of petrol by ten naira.

The Federal government on Sunday night slashed the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol, by N10 from N97 to N87.

In Abuja, the reduction was met with initial resistance by filling station operators who said conforming with the new price in the immediate, would result in incurring losses, as they did not buy at the new loading price.

Stations belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as those of ConOil and Total, sold at N87. Some others sold the commodity at N97.

However, filling stations in the Lagos metropolis by Monday, maintained N97 pump price, against an earlier directive by the government to adjust their metres to reflect the new price of N87 by midnight of Sunday.

It was observed that filling stations across Lagos mostly still sold petrol to customers at N97 per litre.

An attendant at a filling station on Old Ojo Road, told BusinessDay, they were awaiting engineers from their head office to adjust the pumps. However, motorists were seen buying at the old price without raising questions.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) alleged that the Federal Government took the decision to cut prices without prior consultation with the board of the  Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and other stakeholders.

Some analysts however see the reduction as an opportunity for the government to get on with the long-awaited liberalisation of the oil sector, which also means total removal of subsidy.

Peter Ozo-Eson, NLC General Secretary, in a statement titled ‘Break this stronghold’ said the reduction in the pump price of petrol from N97 to N87 per litre was a welcome development. He however added that “there is no reason for maintaining the price of diesel at N160 per litre.

“Given the realities of the international oil market today, there is no reason for maintaining the price of diesel at N160 per litre. Prior to this price reduction, government had substantially devalued the naira, thus ensuring that the full benefits of falling crude price are not passed on to Nigerians.

On their part, Bobboi Kaigama, TUC President and Musa Lawal, TUC Secretary-General who commended the reduction expressed concerns over “the unacceptable price manipulation by monopolies in the oil sector, where prices have remained unreasonably high for diesel, the price of which is deregulated.

“The regulatory agencies are called upon to break this stranglehold on consumers. Finally, we wish to appeal to transporters and transport operators alike, to ensure that the benefits of this price reduction get to commuters.”

Tunji Awonusi, a financial analyst and consultant to the Senate Committee on Capital Market, says the unfolding scenario will pave way for the long-awaited liberalisation of the oil sector, which also means total removal of subsidy.

ONYINYE NWACHUJKWU,  Joshua Bassey, &  KEHINDE AKINTOLA