The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has advised the Federal Government to completely deregulate the downstream oil sector.
The agency also advised the FG to scrap agencies such as Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF).
In an interview with reporters, one of its officials, Igwe Ezekwesili Maduagwuna, commended the Federal Government for taking the bold step on deregulation but argued that the continued existence of PPRA and PEF would not allow the government to achieve the desired result.
Total deregulation would encourage individuals and organisations to invest in the refining of crude oil in the country, he said.
“Deregulation exposes the oil industry to a competitive market, whereby market forces will determine the cost of petroleum products. Having announced deregulation, it has to be total.
“As marketers, we are no longer expected to contribute to the PEF or be subjected to the dictates of the PPRA.
“We want total deregulation because the petroleum products users are accusing marketers of exploitation and profiteering when it is the regulatory agencies in the industry that are determining the pump prize.
“All we want is a situation whereby the government should cease to control the prizes and allow the Pipelines and Petroleum Marketing Company (PPMC) to merely act as marketers by sourcing their products like other marketers.
“It might be difficult in the first six months, for instance, but after that period, the market will start taking shape. People will start importing their products and may even be selling below what the government is talking about.
Maduagwuna, who is also the traditional ruler of Oba Ofemili, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, said: “Since the prize of the finished product is determined by the price of crude oil and the exchange rate, the PPPRA and PEF should be scrapped and that is when Nigerians will really say there is deregulation,”.
In a related development, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order an immediate reversal of the recent hike in electricity tariff and an increase in the price of petrol.
The TUC also threatened to commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday, September 23, 2020, if FG refused to reverse the increase in electricity tariff and petrol.