Why Removing Fuel Subsidy is Impossible – Hon. Abubakar Fulata

… Asks FG to halt the discrimination between Major Marketers and Independent Marketers

BY OBUTE JAMES

The Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Abubakar Hassan Fulata said in view of the level of poverty, unemployment and under employment in Nigeria, it is ill-advisable to remove subsidy completely from the petroleum products.

Speaking to THE LEGISLATURE in an interview, Fulata said it is true Government is subsidizing the petroleum products particularly the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.

“The petroleum is regulated and not completely deregulated

“Taking into consideration, poverty, unemployment, under employment you must subsidize petroleum products particularly, Premium Motor Spirit.

“Petroleum product is no longer a commodity but it is now a political product, if you want stability, peace you must subsidize it.

“Even the minimum wage, some state government said they cannot be able to pay. This is why the government must continue to subsidize the PMS.”

Speaking on the state of refineries in the nation, Fulata said some of the refineries in the country are working but not optimally.

According to him, the capacity of Dangote refinery is more than entire refineries owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

He said the Federal Government is given private companies license to participate in the building of refineries in the country.

Speaking on the motion he presented on the need to check discriminatory practices of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company Limited and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency against the Independent Petroleum Marketers on the sale of Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol, Fulata said if the gap is not bridged many marketers will continue to cheat on Nigerians in the name of selling PMS.

According to him, while Petroleum Products Marketing Company Limited, an NNPC subsidiary which is responsible for the coordination of petroleum distribution in the downstream sector is selling the PMS to the major marketers at N125.65K per litre, it sells the same PMS to independent marketers at N133.28 per litre.

According to him, several people that intend to buy the product apart from the major marketers spend a lot of time on cue just to purchase the product thereby forcing some of them to become third party agents and engage in all sorts of sharp practices.

“Let me tell you that the discriminatory tendencies create a lot of problems. Some of the petroleum marketers at time spend a whole year in a cue.

“This forces so many of them out of business while others buy the products from other sources and sell it at exorbitant prices.

“Some of them will indicate N145 in their pumping machine but in the real case they are selling the product between N180 and N200”

Futula in his motion on Wednesday 6th November, noted that the two block f marketers, the major marketers and independent marketer “are selling the petroleum products to retailers in the same market, the discriminatory prices have been affecting the participatory capacity of the independent marketers in the market as well as impoverishing them against their counterparts in the sector.”

He said there is need to “check the discriminatory practices of the Petroleum Product Marketing Company Limited in order to give all concerned marketers a sense of belonging.”

His prayer that the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to investigate the matter with a view to ensuring a uniform pricing regime for all concerned marketers and report back within 4 weeks for further legislative actions was adopted by the House of Representatives.

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