IPMAN has called on Tinubu to walk his talk on the total deregulation of the downstream of the petroleum sector.
In a statement signed by IPMAN’s President and National Secretary, Debo Ahmed and Chief John Kekeocha, respectively, the association stated that having taken a decisive position on the removal of subsidy on fuel, Tinubu must proceed to ensure that the sole right of the national oil company to import petrol was broken.
That came on the heels of divergent opinions on the new price increase by the sole importer of the product, NNPC. NNPC’s four refineries with 445,000 barrels per day combined refining capacity had not been functioning at optimal capacity, while the Dangote refinery recently commissioned with 650, 000 barrels per day refining capacity was yet to commence operation.
But IPMAN urged Tinubu to ensure that other downstream sector players, aside NNPC, were allowed to partake in the importation of petrol into Nigeria.
IPMAN stated, “The primary essence of removing subsidy is to free the market and make it competitive.” It explained that allowing other interested parties into the petroleum supply network, either through local refining or importation, will guarantee adequate production and supply and ultimately crash prices.
“This will precipitate reasonable reductions in the high price that is being witnessed at this initial take off,” IPMAN stated.
The statement also enjoined the federal government to ensure that Nigerians at the receiving end of the subsidy removal felt the dividends in the areas of infrastructure development, health sector, as well as education and basic social amenities.
The statement said, “As the NNPC continues to justify its price template for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), IPMAN wishes to lend its voice in support of the current removal of the long awaited petroleum subsidy, which had lingered for more than 20 years.
“It goes a long way to demonstrate the very strong will and dexterity that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has in his promise to liberate Nigerians from perpetual indebtedness and easy borrowing, which has jeopardised all efforts for reasonable progress in the country.
“It is our belief and hope that the NNPC will ensure that the product is made available for Nigerians and that the NMDPRA ensures adequate monitoring and distribution, making sure that the policy takes place seamlessly.
“However, it’s important to state here that the primary essence of removing subsidy is to free the market and make it competitive. This is by allowing other interested parties into the petroleum supply network.
“This is either by engaging in importation or local refining. It’s the duty of the government to ensure that all bottlenecks and frustrations in this regard are removed so that adequate productions and supplies will eventually precipitate reasonable reductions in the high price that is being witnessed at this initial take off.”
IPMAN stated that while many Nigerians welcomed the policy “with a pinch of salt”, it believed that the constraining sacrifices of the people in “swallowing this bitter pill” will be compensated with obvious and empirical proof of how the dividends of the subsidy removal positively impacted their lives.
The group promised to align with the present administration in the “social contract” by playing according to the rules and believing that the policy will be a milestone in repositioning Nigeria’s ailing economy.