rising cost of living

…New IPMAN President begs FG to pay subsidy claims

By Obas Esiedesa & Gabriel Ewepu

THE Trade Union Congress, TUC, Tuesday, accused the Federal Government of wasting N9.5 billion on moribund refineries’ turnaround maintenance after 10 years.

The National President, TUC, Comrade Quadri Olaleye made the accusation in a good message at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and inauguration of newly elected National Executive Committee of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, ( IPMAN) in Abuja.

According to him, corruption and inefficiency in the oil and gas sector were responsible for the mess the nation was facing with 95 per cent of petroleum products still imported.

He said: “Even with Nigeria’s status of being one of the largest oil producing countries, the energy crises that have befallen us as a nation are well known and this is solely due to the incompetence and corruption of the government.

“The fuel subsidy and the proposed hike in fuel price is a rather prominent and recurring one. Nigeria is the only OPEC member country that imports more than 90 to 95% of refined petroleum products for consumption.

 “Nigeria has a total of five refineries in the country of which four are owned and managed by the government, and one by NDPR.

“It might interest you to know that none of the government owned refineries is functioning, yet in the past 10 years alone, the government has wasted about $9.5billion for turnaround maintenance of the moribund refineries.

“Please note that TUC is not against the removal of the fuel subsidy if it will yield positive results. Rather, we are inquisitive as to what the government has to offer following the removal. How can we trust the government and be certain that they will actually remove it this time around, because in the past, they have claimed to remove the so-called ‘subsidy’, so how can what has been removed be removed again? Will there be construction and utilization of modular refineries as the government has previously promised and failed to deliver?

“Will there be rehabilitation of existing moribund refineries? What will the government do to put an end to dependence on imported fuel? It is imperative to note these questions because we need adequate answers on what the government has to offer as failed promises from the government have become the order of the day.

“To conclude, I hereby demand that if the subsidy is eventually removed, the government should engage more on expenditures that are beneficial to the economy rather than projects that generate losses.

“There should be establishment of modular refineries and construction of functioning refineries in the country. Proactive committees must be set up to check, balance, and ensure successful execution of projects and to generally oversee activities.

“The moribund refineries must be active and we must put an end to the counterproductive acts of importing petroleum products when we can refine here and sell at a competitive price.

“You will agree with me that Nigeria has the capacity to meet these demands and even diversify like advanced countries but that will not happen because the current political class does not want it.”

The IPMAN new executive led by Debo Ahmed as President is to run the affairs of the association for three years include, Alhaji Zarma Mustapha and Mr. John Kekeocha as Deputy National Chairman and National Secretary, respectively.

Others are Mr. Omololu Omotaduwa, National Asst. Secretary; Chief Benjamin Omale; National Treasurer ; Chief Linus Mgbakogu, National Financial Secretary and Elder Chinedu Ukadike, national publicity secretary, amongst others.

Meanwhile, IPMAN National President, Debo Ahmed said, “The nation is facing a magnitude of insecurity threat. As IPMAN, we need to address this issue and the effects on our business and the environment where we operate.

‘COVID-19 is still epidemic with us. What advise have we given to our members and their staff on the need to take COVID shot to improve on their body immunity so that they can be productive to their family and community?

“Our members have billions of Naira as transport claims with the defunct Petroleum Equalisation Fund now with Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA) unattended. As a united association, we have to follow up to make sure our members are paid unconditionally.

“The new Customer Service Department in Petroleum Products Marketing (PPMC) is another bottleneck tying down members billions of Naira for product payment without supply.

“Rising cost of levies charged for outlets is escalating across the country from some federal and state government agencies. IPMAN National is to dwell in all these extra cost to harmonise the justification if need be and so many other issues pending.”

Also in a goodwill message, both  leadership of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, recognized the Ahmed-led IMPAN and promised their support, which also they called for peace amongst its members.

Other dignitaries who graced the occasion, include, former Deputy National Chairman of NLC and federal lawmaker, Comrade Joseph Akinlaja; national chairman of the Petroleum Tanker’s Drivers Branch of NUPENG, Comrade Salimon Oladiti; Chairman Board of Trustees of IPMAN, Chief Obasi Lawson and National Chairman of National Association of Road Transport Owners NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Mamman Othman, amongst others.

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