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No plans to increase price of PMS – FG

By Abdullahi Zubeidah

For the first time in weeks since the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol began, the Federal Government opened up and declared on Wednesday that there was no plan to increase the pump price of petrol, at least during the Christmas season.

The federal government stated that the comments on PMS price and its availability are mere speculations.

However, this is coming amid a worsening and persistent fuel scarcity, across the country. In addition, PMS is being sold for as high as N285/litre in some filling stations in Abuja.

Oil marketers stated that the black market cost of petrol in Lagos had risen to about N450/litre and even more in some other states.

However, government did not state any approved pump price for petrol, neither did it condemn the hike in PMS price by marketers nationwide.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said that most IPMAN members, who owned more of the filling stations across the country, were now subjected to purchasing PMS at about N220/litre, prompting many filling stations to sell at about N250/litre and above.

He said the cost of the commodity had been rising due to its unavailability and other concerns in the sector, noting that consumers should be ready to pay between N350/litre to N400/litre before this year runs out.

Reacting to the fears around PMS price and its availability, in an advisory issued in Abuja on Wednesday, the NMDPRA said, “This advisory addresses speculations on the price and availability of Premium Motor Spirit.

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“The authority wishes to inform the general public that the Federal Government has no intention of increasing the price of PMS during this period. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited has imported PMS with current stock levels sufficient for 34 days.

“Consequently, marketers and the general public are advised to avoid panic buying, diversion of products, and hoarding. In keeping with the authority’s responsibilities as outlined in the Petroleum Industry Act, the authority assures the public that it would continue to monitor the supply and distribution of all petroleum products nationwide especially during this holiday season.”

Meanwhile, some senior officials at the NNPC had earlier confirmed that subsidy was becoming too much of a burden on the national oil company, as this was another reason for the scarcity of PMS.

NNPC is the only importer of petrol into Nigeria. It has been spare heading this task for many years now after other marketers of products stopped importing the product as a result of their inability to access foreign exchange.

“Your report on Monday fully captured what is happening in the downstream oil sector, with respect to the supply and availability of PMS,” a senior official at the company, who pleaded to remain anonymous stated.

He said, “How can we continue to import 60 million litres of petrol daily and keep subsidising it, while millions of litres are either diverted or cannot be accounted for? The burden is too much, as you rightly captured in that story.”

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