By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chairman of Skymark Energy and Power Limited, Mr. Muhammad Saleh-Hassan, has called on oil traders and other players in the energy sector to cooperate with the Federal Government to end the fuel shortage in Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja, Mr. Saleh-Hassan stressed that oil traders have a major role to play in ending the recurring fuel shortage in the country, noting that the energy crisis appeared to have challenged government efforts and urged his colleagues to show patriotism by avoiding cutting-edge practices. and placing the interests of the people above the goals of high profits.
“In this circumstance that we have found ourselves, traders and other stakeholders should be patriotic in supporting the government for the benefit of the masses.
“A critical situation like this is not a time when we should think about our personal interests and gains. We should also think about the interests of the nation and the people.
“It’s because you rely on people to do your business. Thus, they too need your support to be able to afford the services you provide them.
“You also rely on the government to make the regulations work for you as well. That’s why you should also support the government,” he said.
Mr. Saleh-Hassan said it was morally wrong for oil markers, as essential players in the oil and gas sector, to be unpatriotic in aiding and abetting the energy crisis through brutal practices that caused a fuel shortage.
“You are not supposed to take advantage of the situation by insisting that you want to add transport costs or make more money by hoarding your products, sending them to the black market or diverting them to other destinations. , where you think you can make more gains.
“I therefore call on traders, especially the Independent Petroleum Traders Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the Petroleum Traders Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN ), among other things, to help the government find a lasting solution for the benefit of the masses,” he said.
Mr. Saleh-Hassan stressed that the fuel subsidy, which will swallow about 4 trillion naira this year, has not failed.
Skymark boss blames cutting-edge industry practices for sabotaging subsidy integrity, stressing patriotism, not fuel subsidy removal, would solve fuel shortage problem fuel, adding that removing subsidies would seriously affect the economy.
“If you remove the subsidies, it will hit the economy and make the struggling economy worse and the masses will suffer badly. There will be serious problems in the economic sector of the country. In fact, it would make the current inflation worse. Essentials in particular would not be affordable.
“President Buhari’s decision not to remove fuel subsidies is a kind and commendable gesture towards the masses. As a leader, I think he is in the right direction. If patriotism is enforced, you can be sure the grant will work,” he said.
Speaking on why the fuel depots were empty, despite the subsidy remaining, he said: “The claim in media circles that the depots are empty is not true. The repositories are not empty. If the depots are empty, where do Independent Merchants get the product they donate to Black Merchants?
“After all, if the NNPC imports the products, they give them directly to the traders to sell to the people at the stations at 165 naira per litre. Is a black trader an independent trader? Where do they get the fuel they sell to people in gallons? he asked.
Saleh-Hassan also said there is a need for the government to take more proactive measures to decisively resolve the fuel shortage situation.
“The law must work. We need to go back to the military era where petroleum products were escorted by depot security guards to intended destinations to prevent independent traders from diverting them.
“At the point of unloading and distribution, all trailers must be escorted by security guards to ensure that the products are delivered appropriately to the service stations.
“Police cracking down on fuel peddlers who were selling fuel in jerry cans in parts of Abuja recently was a good move and I commend the IGP for that. This should continue until we see an end to the fuel crisis,” he said.
Mr. Saleh-Hassan also appealed to Nigerians for patience, adding that the crisis would soon be over as it was not unique to Nigeria, saying that “efforts are already being made by the federal government to reposition the oil sector.”
He said, “The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has triggered economic difficulties across the world and this is already affecting the energy sector in different countries around the world and Nigeria is no exception.
“Globally, the refineries are not working. Even in America. About two or three weeks ago there was a fuel shortage in London.
“Prices for refined products in the UK and the United States (US) are not stable. In the United States, a gallon of fuel is almost $8. In the UK it now takes around 100 pounds to fill a car’s tank.
“But in Nigeria, the official price is still 165 naira per litre. So, Mele Kyari, the NNPC GMD, is doing very well and should be commended.