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Fuel subsidy removal: Independent petroleum marketers struggle as costs surge, business models shift

President Bola Tinubu's removal of the fuel subsidy leaves oil marketers grappling with skyrocketing prices and collaborative measures for survival.

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) reveals the profound challenges its members face in the aftermath of President Bola Tinubu’s decision to eliminate the fuel subsidy. According to Surajudeen Bada, a national ex-officio of IPMAN and former chairman in Ogun State, members are unable to individually purchase 45,000 litres of gasoline, a stark consequence of the subsidy removal.

Bada discloses that oil marketers, grappling with the escalating costs, now pool resources to collectively procure a 45,000-litre tanker of petrol, a practice necessitated by the exorbitant prices. The removal of the subsidy has significantly altered the dynamics of the oil market, leaving many individual marketers unable to afford a full truck of gasoline.

Before the subsidy removal, a 45,000-litre tanker of petrol cost below N9 million. However, the current scenario sees the same quantity priced at a staggering N27 million. This drastic increase in costs has forced several marketers, lacking substantial capital, out of business.

President Bola Tinubu officially announced the end of the petrol subsidy regime on May 29, 2023, triggering a swift surge in pump prices from about N180 per liter to N537 per liter, eventually reaching N617 per liter by July 17.

Bada, who also chairs the Oil and Gas Traders Association in Ogun State, attributes the plight of the marketers to adverse government policies. He contends that the policies, coupled with the unprecedented surge in fuel prices, have forced a shift in the traditional business models of oil marketers.

Amidst the challenges, oil marketers are resorting to collaborative measures, sharing a single truck among multiple stations. Bada explains that the practice of contributing money collectively to purchase a single truck has become a survival strategy, allowing marketers to maintain a semblance of operation despite the daunting economic landscape.

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