The Federal Government has officially increased the price of petrol by 8.8 per cent to N185 per litre, from N170 per litre. The ex-depot price also shot up from N148 per litre to N167.
However, Vanguard’s findings show that many filling stations have been selling far above this new price, a situation which may have made the new price almost unrealistic.
In a notice to fuel marketers, yesterday, the government directed that the new price should take immediate effect.
Vanguard gathered yesterday that a few petrol stations belonging to the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, have already 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 the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN.
We lift at N240 per litre — IPMAN
However, responding to the development, the President of the IPMAN, Mr Chinedu Okonkwo, told Vanguard yesterday, “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”
Commenting on the development, the National Operations Controller, of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, said his members had continued to lift the product at N240 per litre.
However, most independent retailers of petrol in Lagos have adjusted their pump prices to between N290 and over N300 per litre.
But most of the IPMAN petrol stations do not have stocks of petrol, forcing a few with the products to sell at exorbitant prices.
An independent market, Betsy Petrol at Alimosho LGA, Lagos told Vanguard that they were actually selling the last stock they had yesterday.
“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”.
The Federal Government had earlier concluded plans for the gradual removal of petrol subsidy from April 2023 in order to achieve stability in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
Total deregulation required — Marketers
Similarly, the Chairman, of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Olumide Adeosun, had earlier called for gradual deregulation of the sector.
He had 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 (eg. Transport and agricultural subsidies) to the public to ease implementation.”
It’s step in the right direction — CPPE
In a telephone interview with Vanguard, yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr Muda Yusuf, said 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. PIA.
Expect subsidy removal— Minister
The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this in an interview with ARISE TV on the sideline of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, monitored by NEWSUPDATES247 yesterday.
She had said: “Where there is not enough revenue for the government to buy the refined petroleum products, we have had to borrow to buy the petroleum products. So, if we take that out, that is about N3.25 trillion. That is a significant relief, that we do not incur any more than that number that we projected for in 2023”.
Ahmed, who attributed the delay in the removal of the subsidy to the prolonged era of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, had said: “It was a decision that was taken as a collective, recognising the fact that due to the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also heightened inflation, that removal of the fuel subsidy at that time, would have increased more burden on the citizen.
“The president does not want to contemplate a situation where measures are taken that is further going to burden the citizens. So, the decision was to extend the period from June 2022 (sic) to 18 months, beginning from January 2022.
“So, in June 2023, we should be able to exit. The good thing is, we hear a consistent message that everybody is saying this thing needs to go. It is not serving the majority of Nigerians.
“I listened to some of the new leaders that are campaigning for the next round of leadership in the country that is saying they will get rid of it very quickly.
“What will be safer is for the current administration to maybe at the beginning of the second quarter to start removing the fuel subsidy because it’s more expedient if you remove it gradually than to wait and move it all in one big swoop.
“So, the idea for us in the budget is that the subsidy costs should not exceed that N3.23 trillion. So, whether it’s done completely 100 per cent by June or by July, or whatever, it’s a process.”
Labour kicks, calls for mass rejection
Reacting to the announcement of the petrol hike, Organised Labour, expressed shock over the increase, describing it as the “last kick of a dying regime.”
A top labour leader who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity because organized labour needs to meet and take a full decision on the matter called on Nigerians to not only resist the hike but to express their frustration at the forthcoming polls said “It is shocking that this government has decided to add to the suffering of Nigerians in the midst of unbearable hardship occasion by anti-people’s policies of the government.
This increase is totally rejected and unacceptable to organized labour and the entire suffering Nigerian masses. We see this increase as the last kick of a dying regime and Nigerians are not ready to die with the regime. We cannot continue on this lane. The government cannot continue to use its failures to punish Nigerians.
“we have an understanding that we are not going to talk about any of the issues until the local refineries are functioning. it is wicked, insensitive and the height of provocation.”
we are not only going to resist the nigerian masses, but the nigerian workers and the ordinary nigerians will also express their frustration at the polls. the increase has reinforced the belief that nigerians must take our destinies into our hands.”