The OPEC family picture of all the ministers and speakers in attendance on the 1st day of the 7th OPEC international Seminar which took place in Hufburg Palace, Vienna, Austria last week. 5th from left is Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
Following lamentations from Nigerian about scarcity of kerosene, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called on the Federal Government to come out with a clear cut policy on the product.
Findings by Shipping Position Daily last week revealed that kerosene now sells higher than any other petroleum product at N240 per litre at fuel stations. A survey carried out at some of the petroleum tank farms in Apapa showed that majority of them do not have the product as their last supply finished since November 2017.
South-West Chairman of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Tokunbo Korodo told our correspondent last week that the Federal Government needs to have a clear policy on kerosene, even as he condemned the increase in the price of the commodity without justification by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“The government has deregulated diesel and petrol, but it is yet to make clear policy on kerosene. This has made the product to be sold for as high as N240 per litre in most filling stations. Most of the filling stations, especially NNPC mega stations in Lagos do not have the product, thereby forcing masses to buy from road side marketers,” he said.
He argued that kerosene has not been deregulated based on the Federal Government policy on the product.
“Part of the excuse given to us was because of the hostility in the Niger Delta which has reduced the capacity of the refineries. The increase in the price of kerosene has also triggered up price of gas which is now between N4, 000 and N4, 300”
“Kerosene is the only product that is accessible to rural and urban women and government needs to explain to us why the product is more expensive than diesel and petrol now. For kerosene to be sold for more than N200 at pump price is uncalled for and government should look inward and address it urgently,” he said.
Also speaking with Shipping Position Daily last week, a petroleum marketer, Comrade Tayo Owonikoko at the Ascon depot said that the government has increased the price of kerosene three times in two months despite the unavailability of the product.
According to him, unfavorable foreign exchange regime was main reason marketers stopped importation of Kerosene. Comrade Owonikoko lamented that the NNPC has equally reduced her level of importation, thereby heightening the level of scarcity.
On May 3rd 2018, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) issued a circular announcing a further increase in price, which raised the price to N179.83 per litre for ex-depot Lagos while the ex-refinery was put at N168.94 per litre. Furthermore, the marketers were forced to make additional payments of N984, 390 on May 9 and N335, 610 on June 6, this year for the same product that was paid for in November, 2017.
These increases brought the price of kerosene to about N190 per litre from an earlier price of N50 per litre.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association (DAPPMA); Olufemi Adewole blamed scarcity of foreign exchange for the hike in pump price of kerosene and other petroleum products.
According to him, “the reasons for the hike in price could be attributed to scarcity of foreign exchange. Marketers find it extremely difficult to import kerosene due to huge gap between the official exchange rate and the parallel market rates. For instance, a dollar is selling at N285 at the floating market while it is selling at N360 to a dollar at parallel market.
“The perfect alternatives the country has are the refineries. But our inability to refine kerosene locally also contributes to the hike. It’s not as if marketers are not importing, but it is not in sufficient quantity. Marketers that bring in products will have to recoup their investment.”