By Enyim Enyim
ONITSHAâ€”Nigerians may face hard times this yuletide following indications, yesterday by the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria(IPMAN), that the pump price of fuel may be hiked again to N150 per litre.
Speaking with reporters in Awka, Anambra State, the National Publicity Secretary of the union, Dr Leo Ngameme expressed fears that the actions of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would end up causing untold hardships for Nigerians during this ChrismasÂ and new year festive period.
He said the activities of some officials of the NNPC, who he alleged were neck deep in frustrating effective distribution of petroleum products to the rural areas of the country, were behind the looming artificial scarcity andÂ increase in the price of fuel.
â€œThe hope of Nigerians having petroleumÂ products, particularly fuel this Christmas period is very slim because as I am talking with you, the magic that would be done between now and then is not in sight. As I talk with you, the products are not there. Tickets are there unloaded and these products we are talking about is not as if the system is empty. The system is there and the money is there and it has been paid for.
â€œWe have agreement with NNPC on the volume of products that they are supposed to give us, which is minimum of ten trucks per outlet, but I am telling you that from the beginningÂ to end of the year, these outlets that are supposed to have ten trucks do not even have two trucks in the whole year, the records are there.â€
He said whatever moves government was making to increase petroleum products was not actually on the side of increase in the pump price per litre, saying that government was coming actually on the side of deregulation, which according to him would not favour Nigerians as expected.
â€œThe Automotive Gas oil, diesel is now N115 and N120. Before it was deregulated, we were buying it forÂ N75.00 per litre,Â now that it has been fully deregulated,Â the price has gone up to betweenÂ N120 and N125 per litreÂ or more. The vehicle that will convey it will consume a lot of gas.
“Before now, from Lagos to this place,Â we hire vehicle at N120,000, but now it is N240,000 at N80.00 per litre and you will add it to determine at what cost you will sell your products to retailers. So what it means is that petrol would be sold at N100 and above and we are deeply concerned because everybody in this country needs fuel for almost everything that you can think of,â€ he explained.