Drama as NNPC, PPPRA deny hiking fuel price

March 13, 2021
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AGAINST the backdrop of the new guiding price for petrol released by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the Federal Government has said that there is no plan to increase the petrol price now. Also, the PPPRA and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said there had been no price hike despite the N211.11 new guiding price released on Friday.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, disclosed this on Friday during the groundbreaking ceremony for Rungas Alfa FZE Composite Cylinder Manufacturing Plant in Epe, urging Nigerians not to panic.  Sylva’s statement came a few hours after the PPPRA jacked up the price of petrol to N221.00 per litre and later reversed the action.

“PPPRA’s announcement was a mixed up. The agency has already withdrawn its position,” Sylva said. The minister maintained that the petrol price would not be increased until the government’s discussions with labour and other stakeholders are concluded. Asked if the Federal Government had really approved fuel pump price increase, the minister said: “The government’s position has not changed. What this administration wants to bequeath as a legacy to  Nigerians is a deregulated downstream.

“We have never changed that position. It can’t happen without consultations with stakeholders. You know we announced the deregulation last year as part of our discussion with labour. We decided to step back a little and continue the conversation with labour and other stakeholders,” he said. Also, the NNPC said there is no increase in its ex-depot price for the month of March. This was even as it stated that the question of if the Federal Government is  now  paying subsidy on the commodity was a matter of simple “logic and arithmetic.” The Group General Manager, Group  Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Dr Kennie Obateru, made the clarification when contacted by Saturday Tribune on  Friday in Abuja.

According to him, despite the increase in oil price at the international market, its ex-depot price remains unchanged since February. Obateru said regardless of the PPPRA’s guiding price template, the NNPC remained the current sole importer of fuel in the country.

He said: “There is no price increase in our ex-depot price. We are the sole importer of PMS into the country and we are saying that for the month of March, we are not going to increase. So, irrespective of what the PPPRA has said, that is still our position.” The ex-depot price is the price at which depot owners sell the commodity to marketers.

On payment of subsidy, he said: “It is just simple logic and arithmetic. The price of crude has increased in the international market. Whatever it is we are selling is not reflective of the landing cost as we have said in previous  statements.” The national president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chinedu  Okoronkwo, when also cont a c ted , s a i d t h e development had not been communicated to them.

He s t r e s s e d t h a t engagements were still ongoing with labour unions on pricing. He, however, noted that “in  a  deregulated market, you don’t fix prices; you sell at the price you have gotten it. The pricing thing is confusing.” The  PPPRA had put the guiding price of petrol for March 2021 at N211.11 per litre. But the agency clarified that the guiding prices posted on its website was only indicative of current market trends and do not translate to any increase in pump price of petrol. This was contained in a statement by the PPPRA’s Exec u t i ve Sec reta r y, Abdulkadir Saidu.

“The PPPRA by this release wishes to state clearly that the Guiding Prices posted on our website was only indicative of current market trends and do not translate to any increase in pump price of PMS. However, publications by the media to this effect have been misconstrued and thus misleading. “The agency wishes to remind the general public of the introduction of the Market-Based Pricing Regime for PMS Regulation 2020 as gazetted by the Federal Government.  Based on this regulation, prices are expected to be determined by market realities in line with the dictates of market forces.

“One of the conditions for the implementation of the Market-Based Pricing Regime for PMS Regulation 2020 is the monthly release of Guiding  Price to reflect current market fundamentals. “While consultation with relevant stakeholders is ongoing, PPPRA does not fix or announce prices and therefore there is no price increase. The current  PMS price is being maintained while consultations are being concluded.

“Even though market fundamentals for PMS in the past few months indicated upward price trends, the pump price has remained the same and we are currently monitoring the situation across retail outlets nationwide. While assuring the  public of adequate products supply as the average PMS Day- Sufficiency as of March 11, 2021 is over 35 days, the PPPRA pledges to continue to perform its statutory function in ensuring that the downstream sector remains vibrant as  ell as support both government and members of the public.”

Petrol queues resurface in Abuja over the fear of price hike Meanwhile, long queues have appeared in Abuja for the purchase of petrol, a few days after normalcy returned to the area. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that long queues returned to retail outlets in Wuse, Gwarimpa, Wuye and Kubwa expressways on Friday, while other areas were not selling the product.

However, the National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, advised the public to stop panic buying, saying there was enough stock and the price had not changed.

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