A Coalition of Nigerian Civil Society Organizations for Petroleum and Energy Security (CONCSOPES), has called for the sustenance of deregulation of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The organization noted that a reversal of the deregulation, which started in March 2020, will lead to scarcity of the product.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the CONCSOPES convener, Mr Timothy Ademola, believed that the reversal will lead the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to negative financial records.
“With the agitation of labor for the roll back of deregulation, NNPC will inadvertently have to absorb the cost of the price differential between landing cost and pump price.
“This would most likely put NNPC in a very bad spot financially and eventually lead to a situation where it would be difficult to further import products. The obvious implication of that is fuel scarcity and the return of fuel queues.
“Once the foreign exchange issue that has made it difficult for major and independent marketers to engage in the importation of petroleum products is resolved, the other gains of deregulation will kick in and Nigerians will be better for it.
“The market stabilization that has been brought about by the past one year of deregulation is a strong assurance that full deregulation is the way to go if Nigerians are to enjoy the full benefits of their hydrocarbon wealth,” he said.
Ademola urged the organized labor to partner with the NNPC to attain a people-centered deregulation policy.
He said: “If this happens, organized labor that is presently resisting deregulation would be forced to castigate NNPC for not supplying enough fuel to guarantee zero fuel queues and for not making a profit at the end of its financial year.
“Truly, the situation calls for a new and bold approach. We suggest that Labour should not just constitute downright opposition to deregulation but partner with government on how best to achieve patriotic, people-centered Deregulation leveraging the new government policy for the soon resumption of Nigerian Refineries, the approval of Modular Refineries and the welcome development of Dangote Mega Refinery.”
Also speaking, another member of the Coalition, Mr Henry Adigun, noted that deregulation remains the only way to ensure development in the downstream sector.
He urged the government to wait for the operationalization of the refineries before effecting full deregulation, adding that the Dangote product would not change the petrol price because crude oil is sold at international market rate.
Adigun advised the citizenry to endure the temporary change of policy in the downstream sector, stressing that it can result in price decrement in the long run.
“The deregulation of petroleum downstream is supposed to bring about some sort of liberalization of the sector, which would make it possible for all petroleum products marketers to source their products from anywhere and sell at any price dictated by prevailing market forces.
“The competition arising from that would have helped to force pump prices down to the benefit of the citizens,” he said.