No Plan To Increase Fuel Price This February, Says NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said that it has no plan to increase the price of fuel as speculated by stakeholders.

The Corporation in a statement on Thursday said that despite the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market, there is no possibility that there would be an increment in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) in February, 2021.

The statement explained that the decision was to allow a conclusion of the ongoing engagements with organized labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship.

The Corporation further urged petroleum products marketers not to engage in hoarding of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) in order not to create artificial scarcity and unnecessary hardship for Nigerians.

The NNPC in the statement gave assurances that it has enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for about 40 days.

It further called on relevant regulatory authorities to step up monitoring of the activities of marketers with a view to sanctioning those involved in products hoarding or arbitrary increase of pump price.

It would be recalled that the nation’s downstream sector was deregulated in March 2020 with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stating that the prices of petroleum products would be determined my prevailing market forces.

The pump price of petrol is currently at N162 per liter. Recall that there had been increases in the pump prices of petrol since June 2020, as the price rose from N121.50 to N123.50 per litre in June, to N140.80-N143.80 in July, N148-N150 in August, N158-N162 in September and N163-N170 in November.

The pump price of petrol has however remained unchanged since November 2020, despite the continued rise in global crude oil price.

Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, has risen by more than 18 per cent since December 31, 2020, when it closed at $51.22 per barrel, reaching $63.12 per barrel as at Tuesday.

The continued increase in oil prices follows the commitment to cut down production by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies as demand shrink.

OPEC and its Russia-led allies, a group called OPEC+, announced last week that there was ‘high compliance’ among member states with agreements to limit supply to prop up prices.