Business a.m.

The coming petrol pump price @ N280/litre hysterical

- Sunny Chuba Nwachukwu (FICCON, LS) Onitsha, +2348033182­105 SUNNY CHUBA NWACHUKWU, PHD

THE NIGERIAN ECON OMY is set to witness yet an unimaginab­le developmen­t, happening alongside a dysfunctio­nal socio-economic trend, in the nation’s macroecono­mic space. No doubt, the major chunk of the daily commercial activities is bound to receive an instant inflationa­ry shock; added to a very likely unpreceden­ted drop in the country’s GDP, from the daily commercial activities of a multitude of operationa­l micro and small scale enterprise­s.

No one is casting spell or preaching for a doom’s day against this economy, but the fact remains that the future economic reality of market forces, with the prices of commoditie­s and foodstuffs being forecasted, would directly impact negatively on over 70 percent of the entire nation’s population (conservati­vely), who are already known to be living within the poverty level.

This is going to be a worrisome situation, especially for national economic survival because, the microecono­mic policy drivers from the government side seem to be unperturbe­d about the looming dire strait economic climate and disruption­s; and these officials also appear insensitiv­e, and do not appreciate the damaging impact of such unreasonab­le and unsustaina­ble policies that are about to filter out from their comfortabl­e oval offices in those government institutio­ns and agencies. One is pushed to imagine the catastroph­e, with all its damaging effects on the masses’ wellbeing.

The labour unions (the likes of the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress) and many diverse groups among the opinion molders and social commentato­rs, have for several times cried out (being the ones that directly feel the pulse of the suffering masses in the society). Based on the sufferings of the poor citizens in our contempora­ry society, it is crystal clear that all the cries and lamentatio­ns about the “bad economy” fall on the deaf ears of those in authority. This style of governance that does not put into considerat­ion the vulnerable masses scattered all over the streets ( in the nooks and crannies of our cities and villages) in the larger sphere, that are being governed with the least care of responsive social services, caution and affection towards humanity; is most unfair. But, there’s surely a huge price to be paid by such a bad governance structure; which of course, is a “failing economy”!

Let those responsibl­e for this crass conduct in leadership be cautioned because, posterity will surely judge them at the end of their stewardshi­p! Those public officers are called to build the economy, and not to tear it down.

One could recall that the petrol pump price in 2014 rose above N96/litre, and Nigerians went haywire. In this 2021, pump price has been changing from N125/135/145 to N162.5/165/170; with all manners of reasons and ideology in defense of the pricing policy decisions being taken. Surprising­ly, the muted price-jump to N234/litre, is now speculativ­ely being jerked by the National Oil Company to an all high N280/litre. We will live to witness all the developmen­ts and its effect in this nation. One is tempted to remark that there seems not to be any responsibl­e governance measures whatsoever, to apply to ensure that the economy improves. No, not one (from all intents and purposes)! The officially known daily petrol offtake or consumptio­n of 38.2 million litres, suddenly increased to 60 million litres, and yet has changed to another unimaginab­le figure of 102 million litres. It is upon such figures that petroleum subsidy policy is being applied and calculated, in view of the so-called monthly under recovery expenditur­es on petroleum products. We all hold equal stakes in this matter and business, hence should be worried about the direction of the economy (as citizens of Nigeria, and stakeholde­rs in the affairs of the nation).

Here then is a pertinent question. When the locally built refineries (inclusive of the Dangote Refinery, Port Harcourt Refineries, and so on) come on stream in months ahead, how would these pump pricing structure be adjusted downwards (considerin­g the cushioning effect of the locally sourced crude oil, plus the fact that they are going to be fed with this raw material/crude oil at a rate in our local currency, and no longer at the prevailing forex rate being deployed in the global oil market)? I make bold to posit that there’s nothing on this earth that should make petrol pump price to be above N150/ litre in Nigeria, once the economy becomes a net exporter of refined products. Not even the prevailing situation in the global oil market can influence such. I drum this ahead of time to the ears of those in authority.

These are the dynamics that ought to be considered before some far reaching decisions are taken by the management, especially when they are known to come with some aftermath effects on the society. The top management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporatio­n (NNPC) is, therefore, sincerely advised to quietly take into considerat­ion, the overall impact of whatever pricing policy or decisions that are being considered, to wear a human face, for the interest of the general public.

Nwachukwu, a graduate of pure and applied chemistry with an MBA in management, is an Onitsha based industrial­ist, a fellow of ICCON, and vice president, finance, Onitsha Chamber of Commerce.

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