The National President of Independent Petroluem Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Aminu Abdul Kadir, has described allegations that its members bribed officials of the Oil Ministry as false and politically motivated.
He also warned against removal of kerosene subsidy as It has the potential of triggering social unrest in the country even as he defended the subsidy regime as a necessity until LPG become sufficiently available across the country.
In a chat with journalists in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abdul Kadir said the association viewed “with serious concern the politically motivated allegation of bribery against NNPC officials by faceless marketers who claim to be paying N25 per litter on top of the official price without any proof.
“It is quite intriguing that some mischievous individuals are hell bent in turning the downstream petroleum industry into a political theatre without minding the negative impact of such on the Nigerian economy.
“It is now obvious that these enemies of peace in the industry having instigated all manners of public hearing in collusion with their allies to truncate the supply stability the populace have been enjoying with the aim of discrediting the efforts of the leadership of the petroleum industry have now resulted to negative media war”.
He noted “that IPMAN controls 87 percent of total retail outlet in the country with over 30,000 retail outlets. As a matter of fact, if the alleged practice were occurring in the industry as mentioned, the IPMAN members would have been aware of it.
“The fact that IPMAN is not aware of such demonstrates the hollowness of the allegation as blatantly concerted lies”.
According to him, NNPC does not transact with any marketer without bulk purchase agreement and that NNPC/PPMC have conducted verification exercise of retail outlet in the country and have since sanctioned some fake marketers from lifting products across the 21 PPMC deports across the country.
“All legitimate marketers lift their products and sell at approved government price in line with the directive of the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke which is being implemented by the GMD NNPC, MD PPMC, and IPMAN President” the association said .
On subsidy removal, the IPMAN leader said those plotting to derail the Jonathan presidency are the ones behind the push to withdraw kerosene subsidy which he said would impose further hardship on the poor, canvassing that “Subsidy should remain until LPG supply is sufficient to fill the gap.
“Until LPG is widely available, you cannot remove subsidy. If you do, it will bring social unrest. I strongly advise that subsidy should remain. I also call on the minister to call Industry operators to order to put in more efforts into the provision of LPG”.
On allegations that the subsidy is not reaching the poor, the IPMAN President denied such assertions, explaining that the problem has to do with high demand versus low supply as the quantity subsidized is not sufficient to meet the needs of kerosene users.
“About seven to 10 million liters are supplied but our national consumption today is about 15 million liters. There is a shortfall in supply, hence people think the subsidy is not reaching the people. There is subsidy”, he said.