Factional Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Olanrewaju Okanlawon, in Kwara has ascribed the recurring hike in the price of kerosene to the unstable foreign exchange [Forex] occasioned by the lingering economic recession.
Mr. Okanlawon told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin on Saturday that the association should not be blamed for the series of complaints emanating from members of the public particularly from the domestic users of the cooking fuel.
He cleared the association of any deliberate move to inflict hardship on the masses, who he noted, were already facing hardship due to economic recession.
He pointed out that it would be unfair to compound the economic situation of the people by needlessly jacking up the price of kerosene in an attempt to make additional profit.
According to him, the domestic cooking commodity is being imported and the situation will persist unless government encourages right measures to stabilise the nation’s economy.
“It is necessary for the government to effect surgical operation on the country’s monetary policy to reduce over-dependence on dollar.
“It remains the determinant factor in the foreign exchange policy of the Federal Government,’’ he said.
The petroleum marketer, however, said that the effect of foreign exchange was not peculiar to petroleum sector, saying it had become pervasive in every sector of the economy.
He urged government to devise a timely action to stem the tide.
“The major factor that is bringing everything up (the rise) is in dollar, because most of these products (kerosene and others) are imported.
“As long as kerosene is sourced with dollar, definitely the price will go up.
“If you are talking about high cost of kerosene and cooking gas, what do you have to say about aviation fuel that has also risen?’’ he stressed.
According to him, as long as the dollar is going up, the multiplier effect of it is rising up of prices of goods.
“It affects everything because almost everything we are using in this country is sourced with dollar.
“If government can manage the monetary policy by ensuring that dollar comes down, prices of goods will come down too,’’ he noted.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has confirmed that there is no kerosene in any of the depots in Lagos.
The union said the product was not available in both depots belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and private operators in Lagos.
Mr Rotimi Benjamin, the National Chairman d that Surface Tank Kerosene Peddlers (SUTAKEP) Branch of NUPENG, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that Kerosene was last brought to the depots on Dec. 27.
Mr. Benjamin said that scarcity of Kerosene had made its price to go up, thus making it unaffordable for the masses.
He urged the Federal Government to come to the aid of the masses, who could not afford the price of cooking gas, by making Kerosene available at the depots and filling stations.