Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of oil lubricant manufacturing firms under the auspices of Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria (LUPAN) have called on the Federal Government and its regulatory agencies - Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Consumer Protection Council, to urgently move to protect the industry and safeguard millions of jobs across the country.
The association made the call against the background of an influx of imported substandard and adulterated lubricant products in the Nigerian market.
At a stakeholders' meeting held in Lagos recently, the CEOs lamented the imbalance in the import duty of 10 per cent which, whey claimed, was the same for imported lubricants and base oil which is the major raw material used by lubricant producers in Nigeria.
In a communiqué signed by the Executive Secretary of LUPAN, Mr Emeka Obidike, the body stated that locally produced lubricants were produced in strict compliance with regulatory standards as prescribed by SON and Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR). They also maintained that they had been with international regulators.
According to them, most lubricants imported into the country do not comply with these regulatory standards, saying that some importers actually bring in substandard lubricants; hence they sell those products at cheaper price than genuine products.
They noted that the high Import Duty Tariff on raw materials was not an incentive to encourage producers and keep them in business as well as keep millions of their employees in their employment.
To this end, the Association is appealing to the Federal Government to review duty tariff on Base Oil which is the chief raw material downwards to five per cent.
Similarly, they sought a higher tariff regime for imported lubricants in order to protect local producers as well as remain competitive in the market. They also want the regulatory bodies such as SON and DPR to be more firm in terms of ensuring compliance to standards by the importers of these lubricants so as to check the influx of substandard lubricant and also to protect consumers.
Speaking to journalists on the issue, the Chairman of the group Chief Anthony Enukeme, called on the Federal Government to accede to their demands in order to boost local production capacities, enhance employment generation and earn foreign exchange when they export lubricants produced in Nigeria to other countries in Africa.
Also speaking, Vice Chairman, Alhaji Ado Mustapha added that LUPAN members were major employers of labour in their various states where they operate and appealed to the Federal Government to urgently come to their aid.