THE Federal Government on Tuesday says major and independent marketers are now free to fix the retail price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as petrol.
Abdulkadir Saidu, Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) stated during a press briefing in Abuja that government would no longer be releasing guiding price bands for the sale of petrol at filing stations.
While noting that the downstream arm of the oil and gas sector had been fully deregulated with this development, Saidu added that price of petrol would be driven by the forces of demand and supply and the international cost of crude oil.
Saidu, who was represented during the briefing by Victor Shidok, the General Manager, Administration, and Human Resources of the PPPRA, stated that because of the difficulties in accessing foreign exchange by oil marketers, the PPMC is currently the sole importer of the commodity into the country, and announces the prices at which it sells the commodity to oil marketers.
According to him, every petrol dealer is free to source for product and fix their price.
“You know the role that foreign exchange plays with the sourcing of PMS. When you are not producing and earning foreign exchange as you ought to do, then there would be pressure on the little that you have. That is why you see the galloping foreign exchange,” he said.
“We did not expect it would remain like that forever; that is why the government is doing all it can and in the near future, we would begin to see an improvement in the value of the naira.”
“Secondly, we believe marketers are still studying the market before they come in fully to resume fuel import. There is also skepticism whenever a new policy is being put up. We do not envisage that the exchange rate would remain at the rate at which it currently is.”
He however stated that the PPPRA will still exercise some level of regulation, especially to prevent marketers from overcharging customers.
“This, however, must be in accordance with our code of conduct because as a regulator, it is our duty to protect the consumer and operators must abide by our codes,” Saidu stated.
This is coming about 72 hours after Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) increased pump price from N148 to N151.56.
Petrol is now sold at between N159 and N161 per litre at filling stations across the country.
Meawhile, Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President wondered why the government increased the pump price when it claimed to have deregulated the downstream sector.
“I am a businessman. I look at things from an economic perspective. Questions beg answers. The price of crude is down from where it was in 2019. In the US and Europe, fuel prices are far lower than they were in 2019. If we truly deregulated, shouldn’t fuel price have dropped?, his tweet read.
In March, the Federal Government announced the removal of cap prices for petrol. Saidu via a memo clarified that the agency would only provide monthly guiding price for the commodity.
“The price cap per litre in respect of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is removed from the commencement of these Regulations. From the commencement of these Regulations, a market-based pricing regime for PMS shall take effect,” he said.