Against circulated rumour of possible increase in the pump price of PMS, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Tuesday has calm the tension of many Nigerians.
Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr Kennie Obateru, dismissed rumours about an imminent upward review of petrol price.
“NNPC has not increased its ex-depot price. I am certain that NNPC is not likely to increase its ex-depot price in February.”
According to him, NNPC has a stock of petrol that can last for over 40 days. He allayed fears about scarcity of the product.
Obateru urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to clamp down on the marketers hoarding petrol.
“We have sufficiency for almost 40 days. If people are hoarding or increasing their prices, it is for the DPR to look into it,” he said.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) urged the Federal Government to return subsidy to Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) as landing cost has soared to N180 per litre.
IPMAN’s National Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maiganidi, said the government should either deregulate the product fully or subsidise it.
Maigandi was reacting to the latest fuel scarcity in Lagos.
Asked whether there was an upward review of the pump price, he said: “Most of the private depots are selling petrol for between N160 and N164 per litre instead of N148 per litre.”
The Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria (MOMAN) denied that there was an increment in the pump price of petrol.
It wondered whether any fuel marketer was getting supply from any source other than the NNPC
MOMAN Chairman, Tunji Oyebanji, said none of his members has hiked fuel price, adding that all marketers currently source products from the NNPC.
He said since the Federal Government claimed it has deregulated the downstream oil sector, marketers were at liberty to sell at any price reflecting their operational cost.
He said if the unilateral fuel price hike had come from some of his members, the government would have wielded the big stick.
Oyebanji said the Federal Government desired to deregulate the downstream oil sector, adding that if that had taken place, the price would have gone up astronomically.
He said the government was in consultation with Labour to avoid a steep rise in petroleum products prices.
Consumers resorted to panic buying of petrol products across some states, resulting in fuel queues along some routes in the Lagos metropolis.
Many fuel stations adjusted their fuel pump prices from N162.50k to N165 per litre, while others went as high as N170.00 per litre.
Some filling stations shut their outlets altogether.
In Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, the queues that returned to petrol stations at the weekend subsided yesterday.
At the First Blessing filling station along Satellite Campus Road, Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, petrol was sold at N175 per litre, while at NNPC retail outlet along the popular Bank Road in the city, it was sold at N65 per litre.
In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the product was still being sold at between N162 to N162.50 per litre, which is still within the N160 and N165 band set by the government when crude traded just above $43 per barrel four months ago.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March traded above $60 yesterday, while the Brent April contract on the Intercontinental Exchange settled at $63. Both crude benchmarks added over 12 per cent in value since the beginning of February.
Maigandi said the existence of different prices was an indication of a shortfall, which the marketers are asking the government to subsidise.
“The Federal Government should bring back the subsidy or deregulate the petrol market completely since the landing cost is N180/litre”.
Asked why the marketers are not patronising the NNPC depots where the price is still official, he said: “You cannot get the product from NNPC depots. NNPC depots will ask you to queue up at the depot.”