The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the Federal Government to make efforts at revamping the nation’s ailing refineries and regulate the fluctuating pump price of petrol.
Mr Ambrose Oruche, the Acting Director-General of MAN, also called for quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) when he spoke with newsmen on Thursday in Lagos.
He said that the fluctuations and lack of uniformity in prices of petrol would adversely affect the cost of doing business, competitiveness and sustainability particularly for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the nation.
He urged government to provide tax rebate and grant to SMEs to help cushion the effects of the ongoing increase in prices, especially at this period of economic recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the years, the Organised Private Sector has been requesting for full deregulation of the petroleum industry so that more investment can come into that sector and the economy of the nation can be improved. The deregulation which came in as a result of COVID-19 pandemic was a welcome development; petrol price fluctuates just as the price of automotive gas oil which have been deregulated over a long time. The market forces determine the price but what government is trying to do is to control the hands of the market forces by not taking away cost of petrol beyond the ordinary people. Price increase will continue but it will be better if there is a refinery to address issues of refining and cost implications locally; if they cannot be refined locally, more investments may not come into the local refinery except the Petroleum Industry Bill is signed”.
According to him, the bill will attract more investment in refineries, thereby reducing the cost of procuring this product and then reducing the cost of Nigerians buying the finished product as well.
“It will also have implications on businesses, particularly small businesses that depend on petrol to power their generators to augment electricity supply. For government to cushion the impact on small businesses, government must do more at ensuring that power generation is at its peak and distribution is efficient and people get electricity at least 20 hours daily, this will reduce dependence on petrol”.
Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has fixed N138.62 as ex-depot price per litre for petrol, effective Aug. 5.
Following the development, a survey conducted in Lagos, showed that filling stations owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are selling petrol at N148 per litre while independent and major marketers sold between N150 and N152 per litre.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]