Petroleum product marketers in Nigeria have dismissed rumours that the federal government is planning to adjust upward, pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also called petrol.
The speculation became rife shortly after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), attributed rise in cross border product smuggling to prevailing low price of the product in the country.
The NNPC, has complained that its efforts and support from other federal agencies to combat the menace of smuggling of petroleum products, has largely been hampered by existing arbitrage fueled by prevailing huge price differentials in pump price of petrol in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
In a presentation at an interactive session by the Joint Senate Committee on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), group managing director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, said with a price difference of over N100 per litre between what is sold in Nigeria and in countries around the nation, it was difficult to block the activities of petrol smugglers.
The NNPC GMD said though the Corporation, working in concert with other agencies, has made noticeable progress in combating the menace, the battle was yet to be won.
The Kyari emphasised that the activities of smugglers have also made it difficult for the country to determine the actual consumption figures for petrol.
The President of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Dr Prince Billy Harry, said the rumours are unfounded as government has not notified marketers of such move.
Harry said that on real economic considerations, government appears not be heading in the right direction by sustaining the subsidy regime and should initiate a workable economic tool to control inflation by ploughing the huge sums of money it deploys to subsidy for a single product to escalate its gas transition strategy.
“We completely call for abrogation of the petrol subsidy and immediate implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA. We cannot have a law we have been aspiring for several years and continue to go back and forth with price adjustments,” he maintained in an interview.
Harry notes that the use of autogas will not only cushion the effect of downstream deregulation but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people.
Speaking also, National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, denied the rumour.
“We have not been informed about any adjustment and the NNPC has clearly said that it is taking responsibility for supply of the product. What we are asking is that enough petrol be made available and our own is to help stabilise the market,” he said.
From investigations, petrol subsidy for the month of February was N73.13 billion while N111.97 billion was recorded in March. April subsidy deduction amounted to N126.30 billion, May was N114.34 billion while the June figure was N170.44 billion.