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Outrage as FG depot price hike push petrol to N162 per litre

The pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, has hit N162 per litre as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has increased the price at which it sells the product to marketers from N138.62 per litre to N147.67.

The Petroleum Products Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the NNPC, had initially on Wednesday increased the ex-depot price of the PMS to N151.56 per litre, with marketers saying the product would be sold at between N162 and N165 per litre.

The ex-depot price is the price at which the product is sold to marketers at the depots.

The N151.56 ex-depot price was announced in an internal memo to all stakeholders with reference number PPMC/IB/LS/020 dated September 2, 2020 and signed by D.O Abalaka.

The memo, a copy of which was seen by one of our correspondents, said, “Please be informed that a new product price adjustment has been effected on our payment platform.

“To this end, the price of Premium Motor Spirit is now one hundred and fifty-one naira, fifty-six kobo (N151.56k) per litre. This is effective from September 2, 2020.”

But the PPMC, in another internal memo dated September 2, 2020 with reference number PPMC/MOD/Sales/346 and signed by Onya Schola, reduced the ex-depot price to N147.67 per litre.

When the ex-depot price was fixed at N138.62 in August, marketers were selling petrol at between N148 and N150 per litre. With a new ex-depot price of N147.67 per litre, the pump price may be between N157 and N160 per litre.

Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has directed its members in the Southwest region to begin sales of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly referred to as petrol, at N162 per litre.

Southwest Zonal Chairman of IPMAN, Alhaji ‘Dele Tajudeen in a telephone chat with journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said, the directive followed the increase in the deport loading price of the product by the federal government, which placed a new price regime of the product at N151. 56k.

According to him, since the federal government is putting the price of the product at N151. 56k, IPMAN has no option than to sell at N162 to be able to meet up with the overhead cost.

He said IPMAN members would have to make provision for the cost of diesel to run generators that would power the dispensing machines.

Other additional costs, he said would arise from the cost of transporting the fuel from the depot to their respective filling stations and also settle their statutory levies with the appropriate regulatory agencies.

The IPMAN boss added that by the time they finished paying all these levies, the cost of discharging fuel at the petroleum filling stations would have shored up to N160, hence dispensing the product at N162 would enable IPMAN members to be able to pay the staff bills and the stations’ gains.

But the PPPRA on Wednesday decided to stay mute, as it did in August when the ex-depot price for the PMS was released by the PPMC.

Its spokesperson, Kimchi Apollo, did not answer calls nor replied a text on the matter.

The PPPRA’s silence on petrol price is contrary to what it said in March.

The agency had stated that it would be issuing a  monthly guiding price for petrol, but in August it did not issue any and had remained mute since then.

Petrol price was increased by marketers to between N148 and N150/litre in August from a band of N140.80 to N143.80.

Following the announcement of the new depot price, many filling stations in Ogun and Lagos states were shut on Wednesday as marketers awaited further clarifications from the PPMC.

The Federal Government increased the petrol price a day after power distribution companies hiked electricity tariffs across the country.

The petrol price hike generated angry reactions from the Nigeria Labour Congress,  Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and other major groups in the country on Wednesday.

The Nigeria Labour Congress said by increasing the fuel pump price three times within three months,  the Federal Government was taking Nigerians for granted.

The NLC President,  Ayuba Wabba, said the union could no longer guarantee industrial harmony in view of the development.

He said Nigerians and the NLC were shocked by the price increase,   “coming at a time when many Nigerians are passing through very peculiar and precarious times.

“It’s like Nigerians are being taken for a ride; the increase in price of petroleum is like adding salt to injury.

“The increase in price of petroleum has happened now more than three times in three months. Only yesterday (Tuesday), they hiked the tariff of electricity. To compound it,  they also reduced the interest rate on savings which affected mostly the poor and the vulnerable.

“While rejecting this in the strongest terms, I think Nigerian government is taking Nigerians for granted.”

The congress noted that the government had betrayed the trust of Nigerians and left them vulnerable to economic ravages.

A  former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, tweeted that the increase was ludicrous particularly coming at a time the whole world was busy finding solutions to the COVID-19 .

He stated, “Just in case those who led the Save Nigeria protests across Nigeria during Peoples Democratic Party government of Dr Goodluck Jonathan are not aware,  I warned.”

On its part, the minority caucus in the House of Representatives condemned the increase in pump price of petrol.

The Minority Leader of the House, Ndidu Elumelu, in a statement on Wednesday and titled, ‘Reps caucus demands halt in N151 fuel price increase,’ described the increment as unacceptable.

He warned that it would result in increase in the already high cost of consumer goods and services and worsen the current economic hardships being suffered by Nigerians.

The Peoples Democratic Party also rejected the increase in the price of petrol as well as the hike in the electricity tariffs . The main opposition party described the increases as callous and unjustifiable.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘PDP rejects N151 fuel price, hike in electricity tariff…Says APC is punishing Nigerians,’  signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

While demanding  an immediate reversal of the prices to avert a national crisis, the party said,  “The increase will result in upsurge in costs of goods and services and worsen the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians, who are already impoverished and overburdened  by APC-imposed high cost of living in the last five years.”

In its response, the APC,  in a statement titled, “APC to PDP: cajole your cronies to  return stolen fuel subsidy loot,” signed by its Deputy National Publicity,  Yekini Nabena, dismissed the PDP as “shameless.”

It challenged the PDP to come clean of allegations of several years of the pillage of the nation’s resources under the guise of its corruption-tainted fuel subsidy regime.

The Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, had said on Tuesday that the pump price of petrol should be significantly higher than N148 per litre.

Oyebanji, who spoke on CNBC Africa on Tuesday, said, “If you look at the template the PPPRA has been using in setting prices, you will find that if you just apply even the official exchange rate for the month of August, prices at the pump should be significantly higher that where there are today.”

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