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Petroleum dealers predict N170/litre, NNPC disagrees

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

Grace Cofie

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Oil marketers, on Thursday, have predicted that the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called Petrol, may rise from the current N162/litre to N165/litre to N170/litre, while depot price is projected to increase from N159/litre to N165/litre.

Members under the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) has warned that the rising cost of petrol at depots would definitely warrant increase in pump price if not checked.

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The dealers also complained of PMS supply problems, saying that many tank farms or depots had no petrol which was why the few ones had to increase price its price from the approved N148/litre to N159/litre.

However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited maintained its position that it had enough petrol to last the country all through the festive season and beyond.

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Providing explanations for the rising cost of petrol at depots, owners of filling stations across the country have said it was because the recent agreement reached by key stakeholders in the downstream oil sector was yet to be effected by the Federal Government.

Depot owners had come to say that payment of charges in dollars was the major constraint to effective participation in products distribution which had contributed to scarcity in many cities.

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The National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said the hike in pump price of petrol is inevitable if the current increase in depot price still exists.

Chinedu further argued that there had been problems with product availability, contrary to what the NNPC said.

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He said, “I want you to know that the availability of petrol is a problem. Most tank farms don’t have products and the place to go and buy product is from the few ones that have.

“And as a result, profiteering will set in and they will be selling at N159/litre to N160/litre. You (marketers) will now consider moving the product to your filling stations, particularly for marketers who don’t get bridging claims.

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“Now this marketer will pay close to N100,000 to be able to send the product to his station, that product’s cost is almost at N163/litre. So, will he use only N2 margin to sell petrol, knowing he will pay staff, power bill, taxes, etc?”

He added that, “Marketers should not be held responsible when the pump price increases. Many tank farms don’t have products. So marketers don’t have any option because if they buy, they sell.

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“If there is surplus you will marketers selling at N162/litre or below, but right now you hardly find anyone selling at that price. I also want to let you know that by next week, products will be close to N165/litre.”

The President PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry, confirmed the position of IPMAN, saying that retailers of petrol would adjust their prices upwards beyond the N165/litre if depots continued to sell at unapproved rates.

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The NNPC, last week, had agreed to revert to naira-denominated invoices for excess capacity for coastal movement using the Investors and Exporters window rate for the time being, but this is yet to be implemented.

Gillis-Harry, however, stated that PETROAN had officially reported to the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources, which had now broke out into two agencies based on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.

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“We will be having meeting with the new midstream and downstream regulator soon and this will be one of the issues that will come up when we meet,” the PETROAN president stated.

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