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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN has accused the federal government of lying to the public by blaming marketers for the hike in the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.

This is coming after the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said that any increase in the price of petrol has been at the instance of petroleum marketers, insisting the government has not removed fuel subsidy and was unaware of filling stations selling PMS above N165.

Mr Sylva speaking at a stakeholders’ consultation forum on regulations organised by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority said that the government was still paying subsidies on petrol, adding that marketers should be blamed for the increase in fuel pump price.

Reacting to the development, IPMAN said the federal government was not telling Nigerians the truth.

IPMAN Chairman in Rivers State, Mr Joseph Obele, said PPMC – a subsidiary of NNPC Limited, was the sole importer of petroleum products into the country and was only distributed to private depots and tank farms with no plans for government depots.

Mr Obele said marketers were currently buying one at N169 per litre at the depot, maintaining that marketers were retailing products strictly based on the buying rate from the government.

He warned the government against lying to the citizens but to fix the nation’s four refineries to operate at optimal capacity, saying that Nigerians would buy products at less than N100 per litre if the refineries are working.

“The minister is not telling Nigerians the truth.

“For instance, we have 19 tank farms in Rivers State. Only three are selling for PPMC Which is government. The three tank farms don’t have the right to importation.

“The sole importer of petroleum products in Nigeria is PPMC. PPMC imports and distribute to tank farms or private Depots across the states in Nigeria. They have refused to allocate any to Government owned depots, hence Government owned depots are without activities.

“The reason is that they can’t adjust the price at government-owned depots. They will mandate private depots to sell for them claiming they are not aware of the increment by private depots. If they are sincere, they should send the vessels to government-owned depots and not private depots.

“Marketers are buying N169 per litre as at yesterday from the private tank farms, those depots are selling PPMC product which is government imported products.

“The recent increment on the price of PMS is a government strategy to reduce the huge burden of imported landing cost of PMS which is far above the approved template by the government.

“Marketers are selling strictly based on our buying rate from the government. Government is aware of our buying rate and our selling rate.

“Government can make such statement to journalists who are not marketers, they can’t say that to us the critical stakeholders in the sector.

“The solution is fixing our refineries so that Nigerians will buy fuel below N80 per litre.”

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