Abuja, Sept. 7, 2023: The Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) has appealed to the federal government to provide palliatives for oil marketers to import fuel at N600 per dollar for three months.
NOGASA said the measures became necessary due to growing challenges of petroleum products procurement and distribution, especially with the attendant hardships resulting from increases in pump prices of Premium Motor Spirit (fuel) and Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel) nationwide.
The association made the call on Thursday in Abuja, in a communique at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, presented by its National President, Mr Benneth Korie.
“We wish to sincerely reiterate that the only realistic option out of this dire situation for now is for government to urgently expedite the provision of ‘Emergency Palliative Measures’ for Marketers.
“Such that fuels can be imported at the rate of at least N600 per dollar for the next three months, while waiting for the promised reactivation of our refineries.
“The NEC of NOGASA, an umbrella representative body for all marketing and distribution bodies in the country, has been speaking expressly and expediently through its National President, with strong insight and alerts to government on the scary trend that is evolving thus far.
“NOGASA is worried that between now and December 2023, in the absence of intervention, there are increasing losses of lives, businesses, jobs, shut down of filling stations and packing up of petroleum tankers due to high cost of importation, transportation and distribution of products,” he said.
Korie said a major newspaper just confirmed the price of diesel to have hit N1,000 per liter, which he described just as “a flash in the pan,” adding that suppliers were at the receiving end of this development.
He recalled that while NOGASA applauded the removal of fuel subsidy, it warned and advised that the right steps be taken to cushion its effects for the survival of citizens and businesses.
Similarly, he said depot owners had been negatively affected by the increasing cost of crude and exchange rate, hence many depots were deserted as their owners were unable to secure bank loans to fund their businesses due to high interest rates.
“Banks are unwilling to guarantee funds release to stakeholders as a result of the difficulty, instability and galloping rates of foreign exchange and high cost of dollar.
“Many depots are presently dried up or out of stock, and this is no gainsaying as it is evidently verifiable.
“Worst hit are filling stations whose owners find it difficult to secure funds to procure products for their retail outlets, and both the independent and major marketers are negatively affected such that filling stations are shutting down in great numbers.
“Dealers are going out of business with many more on the verge of bankruptcy because of their inability to secure funds to facilitate orders for their stations,” the president said.
Korie urged government to save the industry from collapse, which may result in a devastating blow to the economy because the country’s success depended on the survival of the oiil industry, whose critical stakeholders were negatively affected.
He said the emergency intervention would go a long way in cushioning the harsh effect of the high cost of importation and equally bring about reasonable reliefs to the business and cost of living generally.
He decried the poor state of the roads, and called for infrastructural provision and maintenance, because petroleum products distribution was hampered by unmotorable roads.
“This development is already a waiting threat to the loudable Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) driven transportation innovation of President Bola Tinubu.
“Practical solutions are suggested to engage the local workforce to speedily refurbish or resuscitate bad roads across the country,” he advised.
He further advised government to tackle challenges in the areas of importation as well as clearing in Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigeria Ports Authority, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and other agencies involved with dollar transactions for marketers.
“The bottlenecks are simply killing us. Our businesses are dying and the system is not helping us at all. An urgent action is required to save our industry from total collapse,” he said.
Earlier, Mr John Okekeocha, National Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) decried ineffective governance and removal of fuel subsidy without putting adequate measures like refineries in place.
“All downstream players must ensure they are on the same page and think outside the box to make impact and also be part of government decision making,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Billy Harry, president, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), said removal of oil subsidy should have been a stakeholders issues, involving all to sort out measures to cushion it.
According to him, 350,000 dollars is required to establish a CNG station.