Oil Marketers Condemn Planned Protest, Shutdown Over Fuel Price Hike

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Oil marketers, under the aegis of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), yesterday, kicked against attempts by some labour groups and trade associations to stage a protest march in opposition to the recent hike in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), United Labour Congress (ULC) and some other oil marketing groups had threatened to embark on a nationwide strike over the hike in petrol price, while they called on the government to revert to the previous price.

In a statement in Abuja, National President of PETROAN, Dr. Billy Gillis-Harry, stated that while its members are not happy with the way certain things are in the downstream petroleum industry at the moment, they do not think any street protest or shutting down of their outlets would solve any problem.

According to him, the position PETROAN members occupy in the petroleum value chain is critical, hence, there is need to thread with a lot of caution, especially as putting the whole retail space into confusion would induce more losses on marketers.

He said, “The latest price change in the petroleum pump price by PPPRA has drawn various reactions from the downstream stakeholders in the oil and gas sector.

“Although, the agency insist that the monthly guiding prices would still allow reasonable returns to operators, many of the stakeholder operators like Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) are dropping hints of a protest march

“They complain that the effect of the usually sudden price changes to their business is huge and devastating.

“However, while most of these oil sector pressure groups have made open threats, PETROAN holds the opinion that only a round-table, stakeholders’ engagement between the various downstream group operators, the leadership of PPPRA, NNPC, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the ministry of petroleum resources, will solve the problem.

“It is sad enough that only the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has been saddled with the task of determining the pump price of petrol and other refined products in Nigeria, however, PPPRA should perform this task with extensive consultation with all stakeholders.