The Federal Government says there is no plan to increase the prices of petroleum products any time soon, contrary to speculations in some quarters.
The government also warned those peddling the rumour to desist from passing such information which is capable of creating problems in the petroleum products supply subsector.
According to the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR), the government agency that oversees the petroleum industry, government does not intend to increase petroleum product prices in the New Year. It added that all petroleum product marketers should continue to sell at approved prices for those products that are regulated.
DPR stated that it would deal decisively with any marketers hoarding products, as such an activity could create artificial scarcity and hardship for consumers.
It stated that there is enough supply in the country, adding that its officials had been deployed to various parts of the country to ensure compliance by marketers.
There had been tension in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, following widespread speculation that the government was planning to increase prices of petroleum products, especially premium motor spirit or petrol in the new year.
BusinessDay investigation revealed that the Christmas break which some of the marketers took advantage of, was responsible for the panic in the system.
Olufemi Olawore, the executive secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) said: “There is no need for anybody to panic as the major oil marketers are importing products and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is also providing enough supply for the system.”
The MOMAN secretary commended the minister of finance for the major oil marketers what the government is owning them for the third quarter and also urged her to address outstanding issues with other marketers that have been paid for the benefit of the economy.
Further checks revealed that many of the filling stations also did not load at their various depot in days preceding the Christmas because they were observing the holiday periods.
Ayo Fatodun, a manager in one of the filling stations in Oregun told BusinessDay that the workers of his company went for break during the festive period.
It would be recalled that on January 1, 2012, government had increased petrol prices from N65 per litre to N141 per litre, when it announced a total removal of subsidy on the fuel.
Following days of protests in many parts of the country, the government decided to partially remove the subsidy, reducing the price to N97 per litre.
By: OLUSOLA BELLO