The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) South West zone, on Sunday, threatened to stop further lifting of petroleum products in all the Southwest depots over what it referred to as unfavourable increment in the prices of petroleum products.
The IPMAN Southwest chairman, Alhaji Dele Tajudeen, who issued the threat on behalf of the association, said the new pump price regime did not put them into consideration, lamenting that members had lost about N100m in recent times due to the unfair price adjustment by the Federal Government through its agency – Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
Tajudeen said the new price regime of 143.8 as announced by the government, came as a shock, stressing that the government adjusted the depot price from N111.78k to 133.72k, and pump price to N140.80 without giving a thought to how it would affect the marketers.
The IPMAN zonal boss described the situation as unfortunate, explaining that the PPPRA is not consistent in dealing with the stakeholders before arriving at decision that touches others.
According to him, the normal thing for the PPPRA should have done was to seek the inputs of marketers and other parties before announcing any increment.
Tajudeen who communicated the plights of IPMAN members in statement, berated PPPRA for announcing new price regime in the pump price of petroleum products without adequate consideration to their survival, disclosing that the IPMAN executive committee in the zone had resolved to embark on strike if the government failed to look into the issue.
“It is very disheartening to hear that a new price regime is coming to effect, without considering the plight of marketers who bought these products at an expensive price.
“We want to categorically state here that the last time when Federal Government put the price at N145, we still complained that it was inadequate but now we can describe it as worse.
“In May this year, when the price was cut to N125.00k, many of our members ran into debts as the landing cost and depot price were at a loss, to pay bank loan became a serious issues for us.”
“And Federal Government needs to know that some of us obtained loans from banks to run this business and we have to pay interest on them.
“We are still struggling with debts incurred before this increase with nothing to show for it, or how can somebody work with only N2.00, and yet we will pay workers, maintain the loan and also fulfill our obligations to the government.
“Our members had lost close to 100 million naira as a result of unexpected reduction of pump price in recent times as many were having large volumes of petroleum products in their storage prior to such reductions.
“And while still grasping huge loss many of which were bank loans the NNPC/ PPPRA again did further monthly reduction.
“In every country where deregulations are in place, government make room for such loss by going to stations to know actual stock of volumes in order to cushion loss for marketers.
“This is not the case for our IPMAN members except for Private depot owners and Major oil marketers.
“Yes, it is mandatory that we meet the needs of FIRS, pay State taxes, DPR fees, pay Weight and measure fees, pay salaries of our workers, pay Union dues, pay our insurance fees and of course, buy dissle to power generators at our various filling stations.
“So, when we removed all these expenses we are left with almost nothing,” IPMAN Chairman stated.
He also expressed disappointment that the government also did consider that worthy of support and palliative to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“To our surprise, all sectors were assisted, but none of our members was supported to reduce the losses we incurred.
“This time round, we will not accept this unfavourable market situation.
“Apart from the Federal Government, IPMAN is the largest employer of labour in the country and we cannot afford to continue to support the government at this trying time while as business Men and Women we are operating at loss.
“We hope the Federal Government will see reason and come to the aid of our members as it supported other sectors because our members will not continue to operate at loss.
“Also, we will not accept a situation where the government will try to paint us black before the public and that is why we are trying to make our positions know now,” Alhaji Tajudeen stressed.