…We Will Be Out of Business Without Price Increase- Marketers
Following the adjustments in fuel price within the last few days by some retail outlets, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has told oil marketers that they have no justification to tinker with the pump price of petrol.
THE WHISTLER findings had shown that the price of fuel at some filling stations had risen as high as N165 to N166 per litre.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Kennie Obateru, in a chat with THE WHISTLER said that oil marketers are only imposing high price on the product without approval.
He reiterated that the Corporation being the sole importer of the product has not increased its ex-depot price of the product hence there is no need for the increase in the price of fuel.
He said, “We as sole importer of the product have not increased the ex-depot price, so there is no basis for the marketers to increase the price at which they sell.
“Like we have said, there is no increase in the price of fuel in the month of February in spite of the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market, so on what basis are they increasing their prices?”
The Corporation also 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.
However, in a chat with THE WHISTLER, the National Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abubakar Maigandi said that the private depots are selling above the NNPC’s rate.
He said currently, oil marketers are buying the product from private depot far above the pump price of N165 per litre.
He explained that most marketers have shut down their filling stations as a result of the high price of purchasing the product from private depot.
He said, “The increase in the price of petrol is not the fault of the Marketers, most of us now buy the product for as high as N165-N167 from the private depots.
“So we also had to increase the price at which we sell, or else we will be running at loss. If at all the government want us to reduce the price, the depots should also sell for us at a reduced price.”
Speaking further, Maigandi, alleged that there are still uncertainties around the deregulation of the oil sector as private Marketers have been shut out from importing petrol.
“The uncertainty of the downstream deregulation has even pushed many marketers out of business. The government should ensure full deregulation of the sector and encourage private investors to thrive.
“If really the government says it has deregulated the sector, then there will be increase in fuel price as the global crude is now over $60 per barrel. But we still do not know if the government is subsidising it in any way,” he added.
Recall, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, had said in September 2020, that the Federal Government is no longer in the business of fixing the price of petrol.
He stated that market forces and crude oil price would determine the cost of the product following the deregulation of the sector.
Since June 2020, the price of petrol had risen 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 in November.
The pump price of petrol has remained unchanged since November 2020 at N163 per litre, despite the continued rise in global crude oil price.