by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has observed that the scrapping of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), as being agitated by the federal government, can be a looming crisis in the sector.
IPMAN stated that, “It’s pushing us out of business. Nigerians in most parts of the country stand the risk of buying product at hike prices. We see the danger of people buying at not less than N400 per liter or even above. In general terms, the country’s economy will face major setback.”
A statement on the issue was signed and issued to our correspondent in Jos by IPMAN’s national secretary, Alhaji Danladi Garba Pasali, expressing great concern, which they deemed necessary to stress that, the ills were agitation and pressure by some unscrupulous political elites, who are trying to mislead the federal government to scrap the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), under the Ministry of Petroleum.”
According to the statement, this drive “is, to say the least, an attempt at destabilising and sabotaging government’s ongoing feat of successes of reforms in the petroleum sector.”
It stated further that, Sections 2 of the PEF Act stipulates that, “the Fund shall be utilised for the reimbursement of oil marketing companies for any loss sustained by them, solely and exclusively, as a result of the sale by them of petroleum products at uniform prices throughout Nigeria being prices fixed by the minister pursuant to Section 6 (1) of the Petroleum Act.”
According to statement, they are pleased to say the agency is motivating them and the Nigerian public in general to do business, saying, information reaching them revealed that the ministry is under intense pressure to succumb to the unhealthy agitation, to scrap the PEF, which is not in any way a good omen for the sector.
It also observed that, such agitation is nothing than looming crisis in the sector, which will in the short and long run harm the nation and its stability. The statement equally stressed that, the agitators should clearly understand that, marketers and consumers are sole contributors to the equalisation fund, against their wishful thinking that government is spending monies on marketers.
“As contributors to the Fund, we have not in any way ever complained or contemplate advising government to scrap the PEF. We want to put it on record that, should it be scrapped, it will surely cause disparity in prices, wreak havoc on marketers and, inevitably, push many of our members out of business,” it stated.
The IPMAN explained that, they are compelled to react because, as major players and key stakeholders in the petroleum industry, it is also their responsibility to always call the attention of government and, indeed Nigerians, on any looming danger in the sector.
“Furthermore, it is our firm belief that the agitators are only determined to sabotage government’s efforts of good reforms that will not only make marketers to trade with ease and confidence, but also make Nigerians to continue to afford petroleum prices,” they said.
They alleged that the agitation has plain political undertone, towards 2023, while some politicians are planning to also come over to loot the funds.
“It is our strong belief that the federal government, through the supervising ministry of petroleum resources, will not heed to the agitation, talk less of scrapping off the PEF.
“We further vehemently advised that government should unhesitantly, outrightly discard such agitation that is anti-progress, anti-wellbeing and economic advancement of our country and caution that they will not accept any plan to scrap the PEF.”