Anybody monitoring the state of the nation and fuel price is liable to get a headache! The Group Managing Director of Forte Oil, Mr. Akin Akinfemiwa, says demand for petrol in the country has reduced by 40 to 50 per cent after the increase in pump price from N86.5 to N145.
Akinfemiwa said the price increase came at a time when there was no corresponding increase in purchasing power of Nigerians. Addressing journalists in Lagos, he said though what was on the ground was not deregulation, the new pricing structure would put things in order in the downstream sector.
He said, “We view this as a significant achievement and departure from the subsidy regime in which petroleum product imports accounted for over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, leaving very little headroom for spending on social infrastructure.
“It would create a more structured approach for the operations of the downstream sector with a reduced dependence on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation by all marketers for petroleum products supplies as we now go and source ourselves.”
Reacting to why fuel queues suddenly disappeared at filling stations across the country after the price increase, Akinfemiwa said, “The new price eliminated the unnecessary arbitrage that existed between the various states of the federation and Lagos and Abuja, which are focus of supplies during the shortages, when the pump price was at N 86.50.”
However, he said the usual foreign exchange constraint faced by oil marketers was still an issue but he said the Federal Government was finalising modalities on this.
“This should be implemented in the coming days. There are sufficient petroleum products from both the NNPC and the major marketers pending the implementation of this policy.
“I need to commend the efforts of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, for taking this bold step in ensuring that products supply in Nigeria today is at import parity without recourse to subsidy to the Federal Government.”
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