Officially, the price of petrol is now N185 per litre, up from N170/litre. The increase takes immediate effect.
In the new price regime, the ex-depot price also shot up from N148/litre to N167.
But the product – officially known as Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) – has largelly been sold for between N200/litre and N300, and even much more in most areas. Already, several petrol stations belonging to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) are already adjusted selling at between N290/litre and N300, saying they do not have stocks.
Stations belonging to the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) have also adjusted their pumps in line with the new price directive. The development caused further anxiety for motorists who spent hours in fuel queues in search of the product.
A source said an internal memo was sent by the government to all marketers, including MOMAN and IPMAN.
IPMAN president, Mr Chinedu Okonkwo told Vanguard on Thursday: “So I heard but we are waiting for the circular because without that we cannot do anything. Hopefully, by tomorrow (today) we will get a clearer picture”.
When told that some major oil marketers have adjusted their pump price to the new approved price, he said, “well they can adjust as the product is scarce to get at the moment, but with the new approved price, we hope to get products so we can sell to consumers”.
IPMAN National Operations Controller, Mr. Mike Osatuyi said his members had continued to lift the product at N240 per litre.
An independent market, Betsy Petrol at Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos said that the stations were selling the last stock they had.
“I have pity for the keke Marwa (commercial tricycle operators) and okada (commercial motorcycle riders) who have been coming to the filing station in search of fuel. That is why I decided to open today and sell the little stock I have”, he said.
The Federal Government had earlier concluded plans for the gradual removal of petrol subsidy from April in order to achieve stability in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
MOMAN Chairman, Olumide Adeosun had earlier called for gradual deregulation of the sector. He said: “MOMAN, as an association, fears that the current supply framework cannot guarantee steady and consistent supplies to the country given the current state of government finances and unpredictable international supply shortages. We, therefore, recommend a gradual price deregulation with targeted palliatives (for example, transport and agricultural subsidies) to the public to ease implementation”.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr Muda Yusuf said on Thursday that the development is a step in the right direction.
He stated: “This is a step in the right direction, but insufficient to make any meaningful impact because Nigerians are currently buying at prices ranging between N200 and N400 per litre in different parts of the nation.
“We need to gradually move from here to possibly full deregulation in order to attract significant investment into the sector for the benefit of the nation.
“The present subsidy is majorly enjoyed by a few persons involved in different persons in the value chain. The government should work towards opening the sector for the benefit of everyone”.
However, it was also learnt that the oil marketers were working on the proposal they intend to submit to the Federal Government. The proposal, according to an industry source, would include full deregulation and implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.