By Tina Amanda
Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigerian Rivers State have described the memo of NNPC Retail Limited requesting Petroleum Marketers to make an additional payment or get a refund for old tickets in the system as provocative and unhealthy for a business relationship.
IPMAN State Chairman, Dr Joseph Obele, who gave the response in Port Harcourt, explained that some Petroleum Marketers had already made payments to the system of NNPC since December 2022, while the majority made the same payment from January to May 2023 before the announcement of subsidy by the President on 29 May 2023.
He said IPMAN is not against the removal of fuel subsidies by Mr President, but their advocacy has always maintained subsidy should be removed when Nigerian refineries are functional.
“We compiled the list of five hundred and thirty (530) tickets, and we requested the Managing Director of NNPC Retail Limited to use his good office to approve the 530 Marketers to load at the previous rate since the payments were long overdue.
“The previous rate was #180 per litre, which implies #8.1 million for 45,000 litres. The new rate is #487 per litre, which means #21.9 million.
“The argument as we speak is they are requesting Marketers that made the previous payments to make a differential payment of #14 million Before loading the old tickets. They could not load those last tickets because they went out of stock at the point of loading.
“Holding a total of #8.1 million for 530 trucks is about #5 billion. They should consider allowing those who made the last payments to load at that face value.
“Marketers in Lagos and Warri embarked on solemn protest last week on the same subject matter, but I intervened by pleading with Rivers State Petroleum Marketers not to join in the protest, trusting that the management of NNPC retail Ltd will respond positively.
“Insisting that marketers make an additional payment of #14 million Before loading the old tickets translates to numerous Marketers leaving Business. Translate to those Marketers retrenching million sales personnel nation wide”.
Dr Obele said further that the better approach should be the federal government intervening by directing the central bank to give Petroleum Marketers a single-digit soft loan to make up the trading capital.
“NNPC Ltd should immediately open up the importation market by granting authority to import to other Marketers because of breaking the monopoly of NNPC.
“Every importer needs to get foreign exchange at the same rate of concession NNPC is getting from the central bank, by that the sector will be competitive and consumers will get the best price.
“Finally, I am calling on the organisers of Occupy Nigeria to apologise to Goodluck Jonathan. They dramatised with casket when Goodluck removed subsidy from #65 to #97. Where are they today?”