Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management Board) on Sunday charged oil marketers to start moving Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, through the expanding rail network across the country.
PEF MB also announced moves being made by the agency to equalise the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, also known as cooking gas in order to ensure its affordability and accessibility nationwide.
PEF MB is an agency of the Federal Government under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources with the main mandate to ensure uniform prices for petroleum products across the country.
The fund also ensures the reimbursement of petroleum companies on any losses in Nigeria arising from the distribution of petroleum products nationwide.
Speaking at a briefing in Abuja on Sunday, the agency’s Executive Secretary, Ahmed Bobboi, said PEF MB was looking at how to get oil marketers to start moving products by rail.
He said, “We are looking at the possibility of getting marketers to transport their products by rail because government is reviving many of the critical rail lines.
“And we think that if marketers will patronise the railway system, that will reduce the pressure on the roads and increase the turn-around volume because one rail journey will take 20 or more wagons of product.
“And if you can do that, it saves a lot of cost and reduces pressure on the roads. Most state governments are complaining that heavy duty vehicles are destroying their roads. It will also reduce the cost of road maintenance for government.”
On moves to by the agency to equalise gas price, Bobboi said PEF(MB) was considering the plan because of the huge success recorded in the over 45 years of petrol price equalisation.
He said, “We are trying to introduce the bridging scheme to gas because government has declared this year till 2030 as a decade of gas.
“And we say if this (petrol price equalisation) is working for the economy for over 45 years now effectively, if we can extend the practice to gas we believe that it will add value to the economy in so many ways in the value chain.”
Bobboi added, “It will help in getting the consumers in many areas to accept the usage of gas and abandon the age-long use of firewood and its attendant problems and health hazards and cut down on deforestation.
“It will also make the product available because we have huge gas reserves. It will make gas affordable to the people, because if you can incentivise the marketer through his transportation, he will take it to the last mile.”
He said the consumer would also be incentivised because the marketer would bring down his price and the product would be affordable and accessible to the consumer.
On why the N9.11 recently agreed petrol price bridging rate for tanker drivers had yet to be implemented, Bobboi explained that this was put on hold following the opposition by labour that its implementation would trigger a hike in petrol price.
He said the labour union demanded that the government should put in place measures that would reduce the hardship which the adjustment from N7.20k to N9.11k would have on the masses. Bobboi said the government was still looking at measures to cushion the effect of the increase, adding that this had made the approval for the new rate to be put on hold.
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