A socio-cultural group, United for a Better Nigeria (UFBN) has kicked against reported plan by the Federal Government to scrap the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) on the grounds that such action would cause more hardship for Nigerians.
UFBN chairman, Olumide Mayowa, said at a forum organised by oil marketers in Abuja, that if the government decided to get rid of the services of PEF, it would affect the price of petroleum products, as well as that of food stuff and other items used by average Nigerians.
Mayowa said that PEF has been of immense assistance to all Nigerians, adding that the transport and bridging claims paid to transporters for the movement of products across the country makes the cost of petroleum products almost the same no matter the location.
He noted that a removal of such bridging measures would mean that marketers would have to factor such products’ transportation costs into pump prices of products at service stations.
According to him, “If you scrap PEF and it means total deregulation and transporters will have no choice but to transfer the cost of the movement of products to the consumers and that will be unfortunate.
“I tell you that the least a litre of petrol will cost when total deregulation is implemented will be N250 per litre in cities like Abuja and N350 per litre for Maiduguri and other towns in the far North,” he explained.
He further asked, “Do you deregulate to limit your own people?’’ and wondered why there are reported agitation to get rid of PEF since the pipelines and the rail lines across the country were not functional.
He added: “Even if they are functional, what security guarantees are there to ensure that products get to their destinations without militants and other restive groups blowing up the pipelines or cause train accidents.
“I heard that the Independent Petroleum Marketers have set up a task force that will ensure the safety of products being piped and I am wondering what they hope to achieve considering the fact that almost all the security agencies have been experiencing an uphill task in efforts to achieve the same feat.”