Nigerians flock to the retail stations of the state’s oil company on the back of affordable pump prices, sold between N184 and N190 per litre, BusinessDay investigations have shown.
It was observed that many consumers will rather join long queues at Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) retail stations than approach other retail stations that sell above N200 per litre.
The surge in petrol prices that started late October last year, coupled with a cash crunch and failed bank transfers, has battered the livelihood of many Nigerians.
The federal government in January quietly approved N180-N185 per litre as the new official pump price range for petrol as the black market continued to boom in Lagos and other parts of the country amid the scarcity of the product.
During that period, sources told BusinessDay that the federal government approved the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority for an upward review of the official retail price of petrol from a range of N165-170 to N180-N185.
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It was learnt that the increase compensates for the current market realities associated with escalating foreign exchange and high lightering charges, such as the cost of chartering shuttle vessels for the discharge of petrol.
Kingsley Ogo, an Uber driver, told our correspondents that he prefers buying petrol from NNPC because it is affordable.
“As an Uber driver that constantly needs petrol, I have no choice but to get petrol from NNPC, which is cheaper. Sometimes I buy from other petrol stations who sell at the same price, such as TotalEnergies.”
NNPCL retail stations have a uniformity of petrol prices across the country because they have firsthand access to the product as the sole importer and use financial mechanisms to sell it at affordable prices. Also, major oil marketers have better access, but not as much as NNPC. On the other hand, independent oil marketers that struggle with distribution glitches and have less access to the product sell above N200 per litre.
Emmanuel Ugu, who was in a long queue to get fuel at an NNPC filling station on Thursday in Ikoyi, said, “Despite the queues at filling stations, I prefer the longer queues since it’s closer to the office.
“The Filling station pump price is accurate, when you buy 10 litres you get 10 litres, unlike other private filling stations. No one sees a lower price and goes for a higher rate,” Ugu said.
Femi Adebanjo, a public bus driver, said, “I don’t buy fuel from other filling stations simply because of the volatility in their fuel pump price.”
“I don’t mind queuing this long just to get fuel. I get the worth of what I am paying for. Mobil and TotalEnergy are the ones that sell for N185 and also do not adjust their pumps,” be said.
Similarly, Gbenga Lawal, a private driver, said he does not mind staying four hours in the queue to get fuel from NNPCL’s retail stations.
“At NNPC retail stations, I usually spend N12,000 to fill my 10 litres jerrycan, compared to N15,000 in other filling stations,” Lawal said. I only patronise other filling stations and black markets when I urgently need petrol.”