Against the backdrop of the N5 reduction in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) announced by the Federal Government, fuel marketers have said it is not possible to sell the product at N162 per litre amid the current market realities.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had announced the petrol price cut at the end of a meeting with labour leaders which began around 9pm on Monday and ended at 1:30 am on Tuesday.
“Our discussion was fruitful and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which is the major importer and marketers of petroleum products, and customers have agreed that there will be a slide down of the pump price of PMS and that the price cut will get us about N5 per litre and that the price cut will take effect from next Monday, a week today,” he had said.
Top officials of the marketers’ associations who spoke with our correspondents on Tuesday said the price decrease had not been communicated to them, adding that they only read media reports that the government had reached an agreement with the organised labour to reduce petrol price by about N5 per litre.
The National Operation Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Mike Osatuyi, told one of our correspondents that given the recent increase in global oil prices and the devaluation of the naira, “petrol price of N162 cannot work, except we are going back to the subsidy.”
He said, “The government said it had deregulated; so, it is not possible to sell petrol at N162 on December 14. If you ask anybody now in the industry, they will tell you the price at which they can sell is about N170 to N180.
“The minister of labour does not have the power to determine the price of petrol. Even the President can only do that if we go back to the subsidy.”
The National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Dr Billy Gillis-Harry, said the interference by government in petrol pricing had continued to defeat the purpose of deregulation.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had said in September that the Federal Government had stepped back in fixing the price of petrol, adding that market forces and crude oil price would determine the cost of the product.
Gillis-Harry said marketers had lost millions of naira as a result of the frequent price adjustments.