17 February 2015, Lagos – Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, has called on Nigerians not to panic, as the crude oil price will still rise again.
The caution came even as it bemoaned the difficulties being faced by members in planning for sustainable fuel importation as a result of the free fall of Naira at the foreign exchange market.
Speaking at a quarterly roundtable on the economy organised recently by Nigerian NewsDirect, the Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr Femi Olawore, said that crude price fluctuations has always been cyclical, adding that despite growing fears by Nigerians, price would soon rise.
He, however added, “How soon, I cannot say. But when it rises, we should save into Sovereign Wealth Fund.”
Olawore appealed to policymakers to address the challenges of foreign exchange fluctuations to enable investors to plan ahead. He said the government should look inward by halting what the country does not really need like importation of toothpicks and sundry items.
He also called for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, in order to boost investment in the upstream sector. “If we can fix the power sector, patronage of diesel will drop and price of diesel will also drop. Unless the downstream sector is fully deregulated, domestic price may not reflect current price at the international market,” he said.
The Chairman of the Roundtable, Dr Diran Fawibe, explained that the fall in crude oil price was affecting the country because the government focuses only on the oil and gas sector as the main source of foreign exchange earnings.
He, however, suggested that if the government could focus more on the non-oil and gas sector and other mineral resources like palm oil, cocoa and a host of others, the fall or increase in the prices of oil would not have any impact on Nigeria’s economy.
Moreover, the representative of the Lagos Chamber Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Mr Vincent Nwani, argued that if oil price continued to fall, there would be a huge fiscal problem in the economy.
He said, “If the crude price continues to drop, some state governments may find it difficult to pay salaries. But Nigeria may not be ready to diversify until say crude oil price falls to $10 per barrel. “But I hope the country can take advantage of the drop in crude price to do things correctly by diversifying to other sectors.”