By: Abayomi Adeshida
Barring last-minute interventions from the Presidency over the new adjustment in the prices of petroleum products in the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulating Agency and Petroleum marketers are set on a collision course that is likely to affect the distribution of products in the country.
These were the views of a stakeholder in the industry who spoke to Vanguard on a condition of anonymity, warning that unless the Presidency wades in to clear the air, the advice given to the NNPC by the PPPRA to make some deductions from the Marketers has become a major problem.
According to the top industry stakeholder, “though it is not something that should cause any worry ordinarily, under the current situation, those who are in the office cannot just pick their pen and endorse advice that can cause major harm to those who are dealing directly with consumers.
“There is an N3:80k deduction from what is due to the Marketers which the PPPRA had wrongly advised the NNPC to implement and it is a cost which the Marketers are unwilling to transfer to the consumers.
“We expect the government to wade into the matter and settle it among us amicably so that the distribution of products would not be affected in any way.
“Ordinarily, what the marketers expected was not a deduction but an improvement in what the Marketers were getting as the margin, but you would be shocked that what we are getting is to go and work with a reduction in what is due to us.
“Meanwhile, the screaming headlines in the media are calling out Marketers as if we were the ones making life unbearable for Nigerians.” the sources submitted.
When asked if the position was that of both the Major and Independent Marketers, the source disclosed to Vanguard that it is a common problem that they are confronting as one body.
“You will observe that since I called you, I have told you that I am a Stakeholder but I did not tell you if I was speaking for MOMAN or IPMAN.
“Just go and see the headlines in some national papers today, Marketers are being called out on the issue of the new pump prices and not those who are in the boardroom and deciding the fate of everyone else, including the consumers.
“We do hope that those who appointed them will step in and resolve the grey areas so that we can prevent unnecessary tension in the country.
“It does not make any business sense for any Marketer to invest in outlets and deliberately take steps that would affect the flow of supply in the outlets.
“Whether Marketers are members of Major or Independent Marketers Association, they are both in the business of product distribution and are both facing the same challenges from the Depot to their outlets.
When Vanguard made telephone contacts with the Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, he declined comments until he had some facts on the new pricing.
In his words, “honestly my brother, I cannot make comments now because as we speak, I am even bereaved. I lost my father on Sallah day and we are still on family matters.
“We all saw the new pricing regime in the media while we were still away on holidays, and my family engagements have made me stay away from Abuja longer than I had planned.
“As soon as I get any information that the media can use on the matter, I will surely get back to you.