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NNPC’s reward to stations’ selling Petrol N145 height of defeatist strategy—Expert

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The recent face-saving reward plan by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for Petrol stations selling fuel at the approved pump price of N145 per litre, has been described as the height of defeatist strategy at a time realities on ground cannot support that.

The Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, earlier in the week, presented what he called a commendation letter to Mrs. Victoria A. Samson, the Managing Director of BOVAS & Company Limited, an Ibadan-based petroleum marketing company, for consistently selling petrol at the approved price of N145 per litre.

During the presentation, Baru explained that his agency was fully convinced that it was possible for oil marketers to sell petrol at the approved price and still make a decent profit, urging other marketers to emulate BOVAS.

NNPC said it decided to recognise BOVAS and its Managing Director, for helping the government to make life easy for Nigerians by selling petrol at the regulated price, stressing that

“It is on record that you have consistently demonstrated not only your ability to supply products to the market, but also to do so within the government controlled price of N145 per litre.  You are even matching the NNPC Retail price by selling at N143 per litre.  That is quite commendable”.

However, an official of one of the major marketers who barred his mind on the development in Lagos described the move as “a defeatist strategy”.

The official who did not want his name in prints said “Let me tell Nigerians, this face-saving publicity will not take the country anywhere”.

“The situation Nigeria had found itself since last quarter of last year when the international price of crude oil rose above $50 is not what NNPC should play to the gallery with. Time has come for NNPC and most especially, Mr. President who has continued to double as the Minister of Petroleum to tell Nigerians the truth on why no independent marketer can buy fuel now and sell at N145.

“I think IPMAN had made it clear to the government and every Nigerian willing to listen that so far our refineries are not working and we are importing refined products, the current high crude price has shut up landing cost to above the official N138, meaning that any import now will be sold over and above N145. This is the truth Nigerians need to read and hear and not the cheap blackmail of giving a commendation letter to somebody we do not know how he or she gets the products in the first instance.

Continuing, the official recalled that “Last week or earlier in the week, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun even made the clarification saying that at the moment crude oil price rises, the economy is in for two-edged sword”.

“One; high income for the government on one hand and high cost of petrol on the other, period.

“So giving commendation letter or promising rewards for those that sell at N145 makes no sense.

“What makes sense is one; telling Nigerians the truth this time; working out an understanding that can support major marketers a soft landing by way of giving tax relief on landing cost or total return to subsidy regime. This is the truth and nothing but the truth, otherwise, this embarrassment will linger till 2019 election period, unless crude oil price crashes today.

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