The Federal Government and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) are taking different stances on what the pump price of petroleum products should be. This is evident from the comments of key members of both groups to the media in recent times.
Chinedu Ukadike, chief of staff to the national president of IPMAN had said that the association wanted to the government to remove the current N145 cap it placed on pump prices of petrol. And for market forced to determine the prices of petroleum products.
“We don’t want any cap because of the fluctuations of the dollar rate in the country,” Reuters quoted Ukadike as saying. The Naira has hit a record low of N420 to $1, which according to marketers is making it difficult for them to make a profit on their operations.
For its part, the FG still insists that it has no plans to remove the cap and allow for an increase in the pump price of petroleum products. This was further reiterated by the Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru after a meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The situation is quite dicey, as Nigerians definitely do not want the trauma and chaos that long queues associated with fuel scarcity, added to their current problems, as this will be the most likely outcome if oil marketers decide to cease operations, even for a little while.
On the other hand, removal of the cap by the FG may result in surges in the price of petroleum products out of the reach of the common Nigerian. IPMAN as an association may work against the market forces by imposing its own prices on marketers, thereby preventing a fair pricing.
Either way, as usual, the average Nigerian reading this bears the brunt.
Parts of this article originally appeared in Reuters.