The Acting Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Mr. Victor Shidok, on Monday in Abuja, said there was no plan to increase the price of petrol.
Shidok said this at a joint news briefing with the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi.
Represented by the agency’s General Manager Operations, Mr. Supo Agbaje, Shidok insisted that the increase of N1 in bridging costs from N6.20 to N7.20 for petroleum marketers would have no effect on the price of petrol.
Also known as Premium Motor Spirit, there had been panic buying since the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers threatened strike, which has since been called off.
“As the Agency of government responsible for petroleum products price adjustment, we wish to categorically state that the price cap for PMS remains N145 per litre.
“The additional N1 per litre transporters’ bridging rate shall not in any way translate to an upward review of PMS pump price. This information has been communicated to all stakeholders accordingly.
“The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources uses this opportunity to again assure all stakeholders and members of the public of uninterrupted products supply and distribution.
“This is in pursuant to the overall goal of facilitating a vibrant and robust downstream oil and gas sub-sector,’’ he said.
Bridging is the amount paid transport owners who truck petroleum products to all parts of the country to ensure that the consumer in Gwoza (North) and Shagamu (South) get petroleum products at the same price.
He explained that due to fluctuating FOREX rates a ministerial committee comprising industry stakeholders was set up to review PMS pricing template and cost structure.
“In the process of its intervention, the committee identified a possible saving if N1 per litre…. this was made possible by the PPPRA mandate which constantly reviews all indices relevant to petroleum products pricing policy.
“The committee recommended that the savings of N1 per litre from the lightering expenses be added to the bridging fund to address the concerns of transporters.’’
The co-convener of the news conference, Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi of PEF, said freight rates for PMS had been adjusted and the increase in bridging costs was government’s solution to assisting transporters.
Bobboi said, “The increase in N1 will be utilised to pay the marketers. There are no fixed freight rates, each distance now attracts a new rate.
“Yes, it is true that we owe marketers a backlog but it also true that marketers owe PEF. There’s an effort by PEF to reclaim these outstanding liabilities. When we get them, the marketers will get paid.’’
He also said the request was sent to the ministry and the marketers will start receiving payment from April 3.
The Special Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Downstream and Infrastructure, Ms Brenda Ataga, assured consumers that all reviews made by government were in the consumers’ best interest.
On mega stations, she said the Plan 4 of the 7 Big Wins launched last year by the government focused on refineries and local production capacity.
The Plan 4 seeks a Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Revamp of Existing Refineries and expansion of domestic refining capacity (Co-location, greenfield, modular).
Ataga said the government was committed to siting at least one modular refinery in all of the Niger Delta states.
“Government is committed to looking inwards at all times to ensure that commercial activity, consumers do not have to pay more for products,’’ she said