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CSOs to labour leaders: Resisting petrol deregulation may slow national progress 

CSOs to labour leaders: Resisting petrol deregulation may slow national progress 
February 27
23:16 2021

The Coalition of Nigerian Civil Society Organisations for Petroleum and Energy Security (CONCSOPES) says continued resistance of organised labour to the deregulation of the downstream oil and gas sector may have negative effects on national development.

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Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Timothy Ademola, CONCSOPES convener, said deregulation has stabilised the supply of petroleum products.

Ademola urged labour leaders to partner with government to attain a “patriotic, people-centred” deregulation policy, leveraging on the resumption of the country’s refineries, approval of modular refineries, and the Dangote refinery.

“The market stabilisation that has been brought about by the past one year of deregulation is a strong assurance that full deregulation is the way to go if Nigerians are to enjoy the full benefits of their hydrocarbon wealth,’’ he said.

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“Resisting deregulation may only slow down our national progress in this regard.

“Once the foreign exchange issue that has made it difficult for major and independent marketers to engage in importation of petroleum products is resolved, the other gains of deregulation will kick in and Nigerians will be better for it.”

According to him, a return to subsidy regime could lead to fuel scarcity and the return of queues at petrol stations.

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Ademola added that it would also cause the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to record negative financial records.

“With the agitation of labour for the roll-back of deregulation, NNPC will inadvertently have to absorb the cost of the price differential between landing cost and pump price,” he said.

“This would most likely put NNPC in a very bad spot financially and eventually lead to a situation where it would be difficult to further import products. The obvious implication of that is fuel scarcity and the return of fuel queues.”

He further noted that the current rise in the price of crude oil in the global market may inevitably lead to increase in the retail price of petrol.

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Meanwhile, the NNPC had said there would be no increase in the ex-depot price of petrol in February.

On his part, Henry Adigun, a member of the coalition, advised Nigerians to persist in enduring the deregulation policy, adding that petrol price may decrease in the long run.

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