There is no immediate plans, or in the near future to hike the retail price of premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said.
The stàte-owned national oil company in a statement in Abuja on Thursdày said there was truth in the stories trending in the media that government was contemplating an adjustment in the retail pump price from the current N145 per litre.
Spokesperson of the corporation, Ndu Ughamadu advised motorists and other petroleum products consumers in the country to disregard the rumour of an impending hike in the pump price of petrol.
The rumour appeared to have gained currency on Wednesday following a statement credited to the corporation’s newly appointed Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, during his visit to the National Assembly.
During his engagement with the Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Mr Kyari was quoted to have observed that the price of petrol in the country was abysmally low compared to what obtains in neighbouring countries in the West African sub-region.
Globalpetrolprices.com, a dedicated online portal dedicated to monitoring retail prices of petrol in all countries of the world shows that Nigeria’s N145 per litre of petrol is the lowest in the entire West African region and the third lowest in the whole of Africa, after Algeria and Sudan.
A litre of petrol in Algeria and Sudan, according to GlobalPetrolPrices.com sells for 35 cents (about N107.1) and 14 cents (about N42.84) respectively (using N306 to the dollar exchange rate).
Consumers of petrol in àll other countries in the region pay an average equivalent of N287 per litre of the commodity.
Sierra Leone and Liberia (79 cents, or N241.74), Chad (89 cents, or N272.34), Togo and Benin (96 cents, or N293.76), Ghana ($1.00 or N306), Guinea ($1.04, or N318.24) and Ivory Coast ($1.08, or N330.48)
Mr Ughamadu said the NNPC’s observation that Nigeria’s petrol price was the lowest among her neighbours was not in any way suggestive of any plan to increase the price of the white products in the country.
The NNPC spokesperson clarified that Mr Kyari observation about the huge disparity in the pump price of petrol between Nigeria and her neighbouring countries was only to buttress the widely known reason why cross-border leakages and smuggling of petroleum products thrive.
According to Mr Ughamadu, Mr Kyari was only highlighting the enormity of the problem posed by smuggling as a result of the price disparity and the need for the leadership of the National Assembly to support efforts to curb the malaise.
He advised Nigerians from all walks of life to disregard the insinuation of a planned hike in the price of petrol by NNPC.
“NNPC is not even in a position to regulate the price of petroleum products. NNPC’s role as an operator must be differentiated from that of any of the Industry regulators,” he said.
The NNPC spokesperson stated that as directed by relevant agencies of the government, particularly the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the pump Price of petrol remains N145 per litre.
NNPC cautioned petroleum products, marketers not to sell petrol above N145 per litre following the disclaimed rumour.
The corporation also advised Nigerians to remain vigilant and volunteer information to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Industry regulator, or to any law enforcement agency around them, on any station which sells petrol beyond N145 per litre.