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Fuel marketers push for fresh price hike as Naira crumbles to 920/$



By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos

The oil marketers say the Federal Government must be “subsidizing the commodity secretly” if it insists on not increasing the petrol price.

The projected cost of N680/litre, going by the current forex rate, means that the government might be forced to spend about N95/litre as a subsidy.

Recently, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority stated that petrol consumption in Nigeria was about 52 million litres daily.

This implies that the government could be forced to spend about N153bn as fuel subsidy monthly.

In a statement on Thursday, the National Public Relations Officer, of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Ukadike, said the falling value of the naira against the dollar was making it difficult for oil marketers to continue to sell petrol at the current price.

“I still maintain that since we are still importing petroleum products into this country, it has to do with forex,” Ukadike said. “And once it has to do with forex, it means that so much naira will be chasing a few dollars. And since we don’t have the influx of dollars into Nigeria, the after effect is that the landing cost of petrol will continue to increase as long as the dollar continues to rise.”

The oil marketers say they are not opposed to the government continuing to subsidize petrol, but they say the government needs to be transparent about how much it is spending on subsidies.

“We are not against the government subsidizing the product, but we want it to be done transparently,” Ukadike said. “We want to know how much is being spent on subsidies and how the money is being used.”

The oil marketers’ call for a fresh price hike comes as the government is facing increasing pressure to reduce its spending on fuel subsidies. The government has been spending billions of naira each month on subsidies, which have been blamed for contributing to the country’s high inflation rate.