The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a recent statement, revealed that the average price paid by Nigerians for Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) dropped by 1.2 per cent year-on-year. The Bureau also listed states with the highest and lowest average price of petrol in comparison with the approved government price of N145.
The average price paid by consumers for PMS decreased by 1.2 per cent year-on-year and increased by 0.1 per cent month-on-month to N144.5 in September 2017 from N144.4 in August 2017. On Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), the Bureau said the average price per litre paid by consumers for kerosene increased by 17.28 per cent month-on-month. It also decreased by -8.38 per cent year-on-year to N264.48 in September, 2017 from N225.52 in August, 2017.
This confirms the assertion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that its sustained, strategic intervention in the supply and distribution of petroleum products, has led to significant price fall of products nationwide. The fall in the prices, the corporation said, is not limited to Premium Motor Spirit as the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas, has also witnessed a decrease as a result of the strategic intervention mentioned earlier.
A recent survey by the NNPC Oil and Gas forum showed that NNPC mega and affiliate stations across the country, sold PMS for N143 per litre, while some major and independent marketers in major cities across the country are selling at prices below the officially fixed pump price of N145. This is something to cheer about because it is a reflection of the ex-depot prices of PMS which dropped from N138 to N133.28 per litre in NNPC depots and between N130 and N131 per litre in private depots. For gas at the NNPC Mega and retail stations nationwide, a 12.5kg of cooking gas that was sold for N4,500 few months ago is now sold for N3,800, while other retail outlets sell the same quantity for N4,000.
We commend the NNPC management under the leadership of Dr Maikanti Baru for this positive development in the marketing procedures of petrol and gas. It is largely, in our opinion, a positive pointer to the assiduous efforts of the corporation especially its interventions through sustained improvement in the supply of products and remodelling of distribution channels to address sufficiency issues across the country.
However, the NNPC management is aware of the fact that the corporation can only keep this up if it addresses the issue of inherent challenges it is currently facing in some of its oil installations. It is in realisation of this that we urge it to remain consistent and focused in the ongoing plan to step up the resuscitation of some of its critical pipelines and depots such as the Atlas Cove – Mosimi Depot Pipeline, Port-Harcourt Refinery – Aba Depot Pipeline, Kaduna – Kano Pipeline and the Kano Depot.
These, when they become fully operational, will significantly enhance efficiency in products distribution. This is just as it invigorates efforts in the revamping and re-commissioning of other critical pipelines and depots across the country to further push down the prices of petroleum products for the benefit of consumers. The present situation in the downstream sector of the industry can only be improved upon.
Why most Nigerians are happy with this drop in the price of petroleum prices as well as cooking gas is that it has defied the trend in the country which indicates that prices seldom come down once they go up. Previously, the prices of PMS for instance has never come down since its upward movement commenced. But under the current management of the Oil conglomerate, the price of the products have, on their own, perhaps in obedience to the dictates of market forces of supply and demand, come down below the official price. It may be marginal but it is proof that on a level playing field such that the present NNPC management provides, it can be achieved.
From the statistics released by the Bureau, some states are still struggling to beat down the prices of the products in their areas. That is to be understood given the obvious fact that there are other factors that impinge on the operations of the industry other than just the availability of the product. Over all, it is worthy of note that NNPC has set a record that can only be emulated by other sectors in relation to product pricing.