In a troubling turn of events, oil marketers in Nigeria have sounded the alarm over the soaring costs of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) due to the foreign exchange challenge and the recent imposition of a 7.5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT). This price surge, which has seen diesel costs surge to an alarming range of N900 to N950 per litre across various states, has not only left consumers reeling but has also set off a chain reaction that threatens the stability of local industries and job security.
Under the banner of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), industry insiders convened a press briefing in Abuja to address the dire situation. They outlined how the lack of access to foreign currency has hampered their ability to import diesel, effectively causing a ripple effect that could lead to the closure of several local manufacturing facilities and subsequent job losses.
Benneth Korie, the National President of NOGASA, expressed his concern over the mounting crisis. He pointed out that the cost of diesel was a far more reasonable N650 per litre prior to the introduction of the VAT. The sudden imposition of this tax by the Federal Government has sent shockwaves through the industry, exacerbating the already challenging financial landscape.
Adding fuel to the fire, the scarcity of dollars has compounded the problem, and Korie emphasized the urgent need for government intervention. He called for a high-level meeting involving key players such as bank CEOs and the Central Bank of Nigeria to address the escalating dollar issue, warning of potentially catastrophic consequences if it goes unchecked.
Moreover, Korie turned his attention to former President Bola Tinubu, imploring him to take steps towards revitalizing Nigeria’s refineries. He highlighted the undue pressure being placed on the limited dollars available for importation and stressed that the situation could be alleviated if domestic refineries were operational. Korie urged the utilization of local engineering talent to repair and optimize the existing refineries, a move that could drastically reduce the burden on foreign currency.
The distressing developments underscore the urgency for a comprehensive solution. The dire consequences of the current predicament are not only felt by consumers grappling with exorbitant fuel prices but also by manufacturers teetering on the brink of closure. As the government grapples with these challenges, the onus lies on all stakeholders to collaborate on a sustainable path forward that ensures stability, economic growth, and security for both businesses and citizens.
Source: Voice of Nigeria
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