The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has opposed the plan by President Bola Tinubu to enforce his predecessor’s decision to remove fuel subsidy by June ending.
Tinubu had earlier on Monday, in Abuja, affirmed that his administration would not continue to pay subsidy on petroleum products.
He said given the high opportunity cost the Federal Government was suffering to fund subsidies, it was no longer justifiable to continue.
“The fuel subsidy is gone!” Tinubu exclaimed during his inaugural address at Eagle Square, Abuja, shortly after he was sworn-in as the 16th President of Nigeria.
The President said “Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.
“We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor.”
Tinubu said since there was no provision for subsidy in the budget from June 2023, and it stands removed.
On his economic agenda for the next four years, Tinubu said his administration would target a minimum annual GDP growth of six per cent. To do this, the new government will enact budgetary and tax reforms that will boost the economy and address multiple taxation that stymies foreign direct investment.
“On the economy, we target a higher GDP growth and to significantly reduce unemployment. We intend to accomplish this by taking the following steps: First, budgetary reform stimulating the economy without engendering inflation will be instituted.
“Second, industrial policy will utilize the full range of fiscal measures to promote domestic manufacturing and lessen import dependency.
“Third, electricity will become more accessible and affordable to businesses and homes alike. Power generation should nearly double and transmission and distribution networks improved. We will encourage states to develop local sources as well.”
To foreign and local investors, he said “Our government shall review all their complaints about multiple taxation and various anti-investment inhibitions. We shall ensure that investors and foreign businesses repatriate their hard-earned dividends and profits home.”
IPMAN opposes plan
However, reacting on Monday, IPMAN said it was opposed to the new president’s subsidy removal plan
The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said the new government should dialogue with marketers before taking the decision to remove subsidy.
“We are not in support of the removal of fuel subsidy at this time. We have said it repeatedly that our refineries should be fixed before taking such decision that will cause galloping inflation and inflict more hardship on the masses.
“The government of President Tinubu should not adopt what is in the transition document handed over to it by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. Someone (Buhari) who for eight years did not remove subsidy is advising a new government to remove it.
“That is not fair and should not be adopted. Rather the new government should sit and discuss with marketers and other stakeholders on how to manage the fuel subsidy regime. We now have the Dangote Refinery, but all our refineries are still not working, so we don’t think removing subsidy is the right thing to do now,” Ukadike stated.
He said IPMAN was ready to work with the new government and would proffer measures to address the fuel subsidy regime, instead of effecting an outright halt in subsidy.
When contacted to state their position on the issue, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria stated that it would not comment on the development now, as it was currently studying the new administration.
“We wouldn’t want to comment on the fuel subsidy removal matter now because we are still studying the situation and the new government of President Tinubu,” the General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, stated.
While IPMAN insisted that subsidy should not be removed without the repairs of Nigeria’s refineries, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria maintained its position that fuel subsidy should stop.
The Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Clement Isong, said Nigeria was burning its earnings by paying trillions as subsidy on petrol.
“Currently, we are told that this year that we are to spend about N6tn on subsidy. I am sure that in our hearts we all know that if we invested that N6tn in sustainable programmes, it will grow the economy. It is a better way to go than to burn it in fuel subsidy. We all know this,” he stated.