According to Entertainment Express, Chairman of Forte Oil, Femi Otedola, has decided to sell kerosene for N50 per litter. This move will result in a 50 percent reduction from the current pump price. He has dubbed his decision as “Buhari Kerosene.” This is in furtherance of his decision to identify with President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid to ameliorate the hardships faced by millions of Nigerians daily.
As a business man, I am not entirely convinced that his main motive for a huge 50 percent reduction is to alleviate poverty. If that was the case, why now? Why was this decision not taken a year ago?
Kerosene is a huge household expense. Many households spend thousands of naira a week on kerosene, especially for cooking. Some households are unable to afford it and use coal or wood for cooking. Kerosene is a subsidized commodity but for parts of the country, it is still difficult to access it at filing stations. Rather than sell it at the subsidized rate of N50, marketers mix it with diesel and sell the solution to the airline industry. There is a chain of middlemen who resell kerosene in rural areas at higher prices.
Otedola has stated that these middle men and their dangerous tactics need to be cut. In many ways, Nigeria is a case of know better but not necessarily do better. With Buhari Kerosene and Otedola’s intention to sell his keresone at N50, this could be a step in the right direction. There is still one more point to consider though. If the subsidized rate of kerosene is already N50, and the hiked prices are mostly due to the middlemen, the reduction of keresone’s price to the actual amount of N50 will probably not affect Otedola. I will not give him too much credit yet on his move. The potential for a ripple effect based on his decision which could reduce corrupt practices from the kerosene and aviation industry, now that would be praiseworthy. However, time will tell. Let’s see if anything changes.