Oil marketers have issued an urgent plea to the Federal Government to take immediate action in curbing the continuous depreciation of the Naira against the dollar, which has exerted significant pressure on the pump price of petrol. In a press briefing, Mr. Benneth Korie, President of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), highlighted the alarming consequences of the Naira’s diminishing value and its impact on fuel prices.
Korie expressed concern over the escalating cost of diesel, which has surged to N920/950 per litre, a considerable increase from its previous price of N600 plus. He attributed this surge in prices partly to the government’s introduction of tax on the product. Anticipating further price hikes, Korie suggested that the government must take swift action by engaging Bureau de Change (BDC) operators and bank managing directors in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to establish a uniform exchange rate for the Naira against the dollar. He cautioned against leaving the exchange rate to market forces, emphasizing that such a move could have dire consequences for the nation’s economy.
Korie emphasized the pressing need to address the dilapidated state of the nation’s refineries, asserting that their revival would play a pivotal role in stabilizing petrol pump prices and alleviating the strain on the local currency. He advocated entrusting Nigerian engineers with the task of restoring the refineries, expressing confidence in their ability to resolve the challenges with the appropriate machinery. Korie criticized the previous decision to remove subsidies before addressing the refineries, highlighting its contribution to the current challenges faced by the sector.
The oil marketers also highlighted the urgent requirement for infrastructure improvement, particularly the repair of road networks. Korie drew attention to the dire situation faced by truck drivers traveling from Warri to Abuja, where road closures, abductions, and vandalism of vehicles have resulted in operational standstills and financial losses.
In a lament over the current business environment, Korie observed that several filling stations have been forced to shut down due to exorbitant operational costs. He highlighted the drastic reduction in trading capacity, where businesses that previously operated with N10 million could now only afford to purchase 150,000 litres of petrol, significantly impacting revenue and expenses.
The oil marketers’ call for immediate intervention underscores the urgency of addressing the Naira’s depreciation and its subsequent effects on fuel prices and the downstream sector. The pressing need for holistic reform within the industry has become increasingly evident, with stakeholders emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive strategy to alleviate the burdens faced by both businesses and consumers alike.