Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has said that the Federal Government was not contemplating any further increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also called petrol.
The GMD’s remark is coming on the heels of fears being expressed by oil marketers of dire implications for the economy if the government insists on hanging to an exchange rate policy which tie the prices of oil to foreign exchange fluctuations.
Marketers had on Monday warned Nigerians to brace up for another hike in pump price of petrol due to the lingering scarcity of foreign exchange to finance the importation of about 40 million litres of the product consumed daily.
Also, online media had reported that because of the high cost of foreign currencies, NNPC had concluded plans to increase the pump price of PMS from N145 per litre to between N170 and N200. But, speaking to State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhamadu Buhari, Baro explained that he has not been directed by anyone to increase the pump price of petrol.
He said even the last increment from N86 to the current price of N145 by the NNPC was also based on recommendations from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA). According to him, “I have not been directed to increase pump price, even the other price was based on recommendation from the regulated body.
I am not aware that they are planning to do any increase. “You know there are several factors that necessitated that, especially the issue of exchange rate that has moved and we don’t expect any serious changes.
“So far, the request for forex for importation of gasoline, popularly called petrol, has been met.” He noted that the NNPC supply situation was robust since there is presently adequate quantity of the product to be supplied across the country. “Our own supply situation is robust, we are meeting demands. We have over 1.4 billion litres on ground. So, I don’t see any basis for increase.
“However, the review could be done by the right body, you should contact PPPRA, that is the regula tory body as far as petrol pricing is concerned,” he added.
Although the Federal Government had partially deregulated the product four months ago, Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude export, depends largely on importation to meet the local demand for refined products due to the epileptic nature of its four refineries with 445,000 barrels per day cumulative production capacity. The United States dollar hit N400, an all-time high last week at the parallel market.
A managing director of one of the big oil trading and marketing companies told New Telegraph yesterday that the terms for partial deregulation were being altered by the high dollar exchange rate, which may push the new price of the commodity to as high regulaas N200 per litre. “Yes, there is competition in the business, but we are battling hard to retain the price of PMS within the approved N135-N145 per litre.
“The Federal Government cannot fund this importation any longer.
It cannot also make the forex available at the recommended price. What this tells us is that Nigerians just have to prepare for a hike in PMS price; there are no two ways about it,” the source stated.
He continued: “As we speak, the tension on the likely event of increase in pump price is spreading across the country. Many retail marketers nationwide are calling those at the depots and loading gantries to know the true state of things. “Except the government makes the product available, the product’s price at stations other than NNPC retail outlets may sell as high as N200 per litre.”
– New Telegraph