Uche Usim and Adewale Sanyaolu
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has directed its members nationwide to crash the pump price of petrol from N145 to N140 per litre with effect from Wednesday to Friday, being the eve of the presidential election.
IPMAN said the decision to slash petrol price by N5 per litre followed last Saturday’s last-minute postponement of presidential and National Assembly elections by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying the decision would help cushion the effect of transport fares for Nigerians who had travelled and would be travelling to different places across the country to cast their votes but were jolted by the postponement.
But the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA) have said they have no plan to go the way of IPMAN.
Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, said it would be foolhardy of the association to consider slashing the pump price of petrol when it was still being owed close to N400 billion in fuel subsidy arrears by the Federal Government.
‘‘IPMAN can do whatever they want because they are not being owed by the Federal Government. But for us, that would be impossible as we are still battling to save our investments in the downstream sector from imminent collapse.
A source in MOMAN who pleaded anonymity said he lacks clear understanding as to what the intentions of IPMAN are, saying MOMAN does not have intentions to slash petrol price. He said the model IPMAN is trying to adopt seems impracticable as landing cost of petrol per litre is above N145 per litre, wondering how they intend to recoup the N5 shortfall per litre. When asked how the marketers intend to recoup the N5 per litre shortfall, IPMAN National President, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun, explained that the intention this time around would not be about profit but national interest.
‘‘National interest should be paramount and this is our way of giving back to Nigerians. In this instance, we have relegated profit motive to the background in other to put national interest on the frontburner.”
On how IPMAN intends to monitor its members to ensure that the directive is not flouted, Okoronkwo said there is a monitoring team that would move around its members’ outlets to ensure full compliance while names of defaulters will be collated for further actions in line with the rules of the association.
“We urge all our members across Nigeria to immediately reduce the pump price of petroleum from N145 to N140.”
This is because of the political situation in the country, following INEC’s sudden postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections after Nigerians were fully prepared. We are all aware of how Nigerians travelled to different destinations across the country to exercise their civic duty. Unfortunately, they heard a sad news of postponement of the polls. We consider this situation to reduce the pump price in order to ease their suffering, and to also motivate them to travel again to exercise their franchise on February 23.