BusinessDay

Oil marketers ignore FG’s directive, sell petrol N167 per litre

Nine days after the Federal Government announced a slash in the fuel pump price of petrol by N5 to N162.44, petroleum marketers are still selling petrol between N166 to N170 per litre in most fuel stations across the country.

Furious over the repeated hike in petrol price, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had dragged the Federal Government to a dialogue, where the government delegation led by which the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige agreed to slash N5 from N167.44 to N162.44.

However, findings across major and independent retail outlets within the Lagos metropolis and major cities across the country on Tuesday revealed the new price has failed to work, and marketers are still selling above the previous price.

Except NNPC retail outlets, Filling stations across Lagos State, the commercial hub of Nigeria, are selling between N164 and N166.

BusinessDay correspondent who monitored the situation on Tuesday evening discovered apart from NNPC retail outlets, most major oil marketers in Apapa, Fadeyi, Festac, Onipanu, Surulere, Ebute Metta and Yaba areas were selling within the range of N164 and N166.

In major cities in Federal Capital Territory, the new price has failed to work, and marketers are still selling above the previous price. For example, an ardova Plc filling station had adjusted its pump price to N165, Enyo sold the product at N166 per litre; Nipco plc sold at N167; Oando sold at N168 while MRS sold at N 169.

In some parts of Ilorin, Kwara State, Randuk Filling Station sold for NI65, Atinuke Filling Station sold for N166 and N168 while in Benin, Edo State, some petrol stations, including Conoil and Voe were dispensing at around N166 per litre.

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s downstream sector said the government announcement of price reduction not only caused distortion but further dampened the supply chain in the market.

A source exposed to the downstream sector said most customers didn’t buy petrol because they were anticipating a cheaper petrol price which led to excess supply in the market, leaving a lot of petrol marketers stranded with more expensive petrol.

“Without the current price, petrol marketers are selling it will be difficult to avoid scarcity during this festive season,” Source said.

“If the president and NNPC GMD announced deregulation of the downstream sector, in what capacity did the minister of labour sit with union leaders to agree on a price to impose on the market,” he said.

Vice President of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Abubakar Shettima that they were never carried along on the matter, stating that “petrol marketers would be subjected to losses since they had stocked product.”

The latest adjustment to the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) better known as petrol, has raised more questions than answers, as well as concerns about government’s sincerity regarding the deregulation of the downstream sector and suspension of a subsidy regime allegedly covered in corruption and secrecy.

The principal concerns for most industry players are that Federal Government agencies, especially NNPC and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has allegedly failed to be transparent in fixing pump price, expected to be determined by market forces and other variables.

They are also worried that while the nation is only practising a partial deregulation, the regulatory roles of the PPPRA and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) have been neglected or taken over by a monopolistic market, controlled by the NNPC, which serves as the major importer.

Although the pump price of petrol was reduced immediately the government deregulated the market following the low price of crude at the international, the price has, however, risen steadily from June. The price rose from N121.50 to N123.50 per litre in June; N140.80 to N143.80 in July and N148 to N150 in August.

In September pump prices rose further to N158 and N162 per litre. The recent ex-depot in November took the price to N168 per litre.

Most stakeholders did not see anything positive in recent development as some insisted the development remained a setback to the much-trumpeted deregulation as well as a situation that the price might not be right in the first place as most of them insisted that the pricing system was never transparent.

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