Experts bemoan adulterated PMS’ impact on national brand perception

By Oghale Mafuru

Coming on the heels of the current economic and social crisis caused by the infiltration of adulterated Premium Motor Spirit, PMS into Nigeria, practitioners in the Integrated Marketing Communication industry have expressed worry that the occurrence will further debase the country’s fragile image in the comity of nations.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with MARKETING EDGE, the practitioners who described the importation of adulterated fuel as a national disaster affirmed that corruption has continued to rob the country in diverse ways.

Former Vice-Chairman of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Rivers State, Lawarence Dike who blamed the sad incidence on corruption affirmed that aside from the economic devastation it has caused, it put a strain on the already battered image of the nation in the international arena.

“It has compounded the fight against corruption. We are losing the fight against corruption. It is a dent in the national brand image. If you check the Nigeria brand index, I don’t think it is very encouraging. Corruption is very high. It shows the system isn’t working and when the system isn’t working especially in the Oil and Gas sector, then we have a huge problem. He said

According to him, the economic devastation has bred distrust for the government which will discourage investment.

“It is not a good one for the brand image and it will not encourage investors. One of the cardinal points that will drive investment is the brand personality. What does the brand belief, the culture, the ease of doing business, and all that? If corruption is so high, then it is going to de-market the country. Our reputation has been marred. Considering that Nigeria sits in the cartel that regulates Oil and Gas, that’s OPEC and we are having this kind of challenge. What will be our reputation in the comity of nations? Corruption is deepening and killing our reputation.”

While stating that the unfortunate occurrence was caused by sabotage at the points of entry, the PR expert noted that the failure of the government to make the refineries operate optimally has been the bane of the country’s growth potential.

“We have not solved the issue of refineries. Now, we have the importation of bad fuel after the government was able to contain the fuel subsidy. It goes to show that the fight against corruption as far as I am concerned has not been won”, he concluded.

Speaking in the same vein, Communication expert and Public Affairs Analyst, Aliogo Ugo expressed displeasure over the recurring cases of corrupt practices in the country which have negatively affected the country both nationally and internationally.

While pointing out that the fuel emergency crisis is a bad signal for the country, Aliogo Ugo noted that despite calls for serious punitive measures to check future occurrences, it appears it will be swept under the carpet with no one held accountable.

“The petrol that is being imported has high methanol content. This is a slap on NNPC. It is a slap on the Federal Ministry of Petroleum. The NNPC GMD must be called to explain. Sadly, nobody is held reliable. In a sane society, the Group Managing Director should be called to question. Nobody is held accountable. Some people are profiteering from this. It is a dent in our reputation.

“Nigeria is among the top producers in the world. We have a controlling stake in OPEC. How can we explain the importation of fake petrol? What this occurrence shows is that we are not growing as a nation. It shows the failure of our governance in the area of ensuring that we have adequate petroleum products in the country. It is not a good omen for Nigeria”. He submitted

Commenting on the economic impact, he said: Let’s stop this idea of sending our crude to Europe to refine. It is causing a lot of economic strain on our revenue. How much do we have in our oil reserve? We need to focus on refining. Now we have the Dangote refinery coming up. NNPC does not want to repair the refineries because the focus is on the Dangote refinery. Dangote refinery has not kicked off.

Meanwhile, the importation of the adulterated fuel has been accompanied by unpleasant experiences for motorists and commuters who had to endure long queues at fuel stations and severe damage to their car engines.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Kyari has disclosed that a major investigation to unravel the circumstance surrounding the importation and supply of the adulterated product has commenced.


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