Despite the insistence of the Federal Government that marketers should not sell Premium Motor Spirit (commonly known as fuel or petrol) for more than the official rate of N165 per litre, many filling stations across the country have increased the price to no less than N185.
The government issued the warning to oil marketers on Tuesday, while advising the citizens against panic buying, saying that the country currently had over two billion litres of PMS in various depots.
This was made known by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, the midstream and downstream petroleum regulatory authority; and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) after visiting jetties in Apapa, Lagos on Tuesday.
The officials of the agencies visited the depots of NIPCO and TotalEnergies.
On Monday, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria advised its members to adjust the pump price of PMS to a minimum of N180 per litre. The marketers said the move was necessitated by the increment in the ex-depot price of PMS by some private depots.
But, the Executive Director of the Distribution Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure, Mr Ugbugo Ukoha maintained that petrol was a regulated product and urged marketers to comply with the pricing template.
He said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine had led to an increment in the cost of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel), which was a critical product used in transporting petroleum products from the depots to the retail outlets.
He further said: “So, when we observed that this poses a big challenge in the movement of other products, we made the representation to the Minister of State for Petroleum and Mr President graciously approved that the freight rate for trucks be increased.
“There’s a N10 addition, which we will apply to the different routes to enable trucks to move to docks easily with less burden. With these kinds of efforts from government, we can only continue to appeal to operators within this industry to play by the rules.
“PMS is a regulated product and the prices are fixed. The ex-depot price is known. The pump price remains N165 and the authority is ever ready to enforce those rules. So, we will continue to urge Nigerians to keep within these operating rules”.
Ukoha said the focus of the stakeholders in the next few days would be to close the supply gaps and resolve the ongoing scarcity of petrol as soon as possible.
Also, the Group Executive Director, Downstream of NNPC Limited, Mr Adetunji Adeyemi said the purpose of the visit to the depots was to get first hand information on the challenges responsible for the current scarcity.
Adeyemi said despite the challenges globally in terms of the supply chain, NNPC had continued to provide petroleum products, specifically PMS to Nigerians.
“Today we have about two billion litres of PMS in-country, which is about 34 days sufficiency. So, there is sufficient petrol in the country. We are working with the entire stakeholders and players in the downstream sector to ensure that this product gets to the distribution channels and also the stations. We want Nigerians to continue to enjoy free flow of petroleum products”, he said.
For PPMC Managing Director, Mr Isiyaku Abdullahi, the company had been supporting transporters and marketers with diesel in form of palliative to ensure the smooth distribution of PMS and ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians.
Abdullahi said three vessels carrying about 60 metric tons of PMS were currently discharging at the Apapa jetty, which would be further transported to Lagos and other parts of the country to restore normalcy.