Fuel subsidy must never return, marketers tell FG

Oil marketers have warned of the dangers of returning fuel subsidies, saying it has the potential of throwing the downstream sector into a fresh round of uncertainties.

Executive Secretary, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Clement Isong, while speaking with journalists on the sideline of the just-concluded energy conference held in Lagos, said although it could be necessary for the government to intervene given current economic challenges, however, the interventions must be time-bound.

“Fuel subsidies must never return. Although interventions could be allowed just as it is being done in other countries of the world, however, the interventions must be time bound and never be allowed to drag for too long,” he said.

Speaking further, Isong argued that high petrol prices are a global policy not peculiar to Nigeria.

“The price of fossil fuel at the pump will continue to rise because it is a global policy of governments of the world to push consumers to embrace cleaner alternatives, and operators to be competitive and then reduce prices. So, the current pump price in Nigeria is still not where it should be,” he said.

According to him, the Federal Government should rather take full advantage of its vast oil and gas resources to develop the country while it still matters as the world gravitates towards energy transition.

Prices of petrol had risen from N185 per litre in June when subsidies ended to almost N600 per litre in Lagos and its environs.

“If the government did not end subsidies at the time it did, the country would have died because subsidies were no longer sustainable,” he said, adding that subsidies should never be allowed to return.

On his part; former chairman, MOMAN and Chief Executive Officer, 11 Plc, Tunji Oyebanji, said pump prices of petrol would have been higher if the government had allowed market forces to determine prices.

According to him, both the private and public sector still need to make huge investments in the downstream sector to drive it towards development. The Association also recommended paying for charges and levies in naira to drive down prices, full implementation of the Petrol Industry Act, ending product importation monopoly, investments, and appropriate pricing of petroleum products as some of the panaceas to challenges bedeviling the downstream sector

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