In spite of the rise in crude oil price in the international market, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday ruled out any increment in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol in February, 2021.
The NNPC, through its spokesperson. Kennie Obateru, said the decision by the government not to increase the pump price of petrol was to allow the ongoing engagements with organized labour and other stakeholders to be concluded.
Following the hike in petroleum products price in September last year, the organized labour threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if government failed to reverse the decision and the hike in price of other essential public utilities like electricity.
Consequently, on September 28, 2020, the government and the the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) agreed to set up a technical committee to examine the root challenges in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sub sector and the electricity sector.
The Committee was also charged with the responsibility of developing an acceptable framework for resolving the problem in a manner that would not expose the ordinary Nigerians to any hardship.
Although the Committee has submitted its report to the government, a consensus is yet to be reached between the government and Labour on the way forward.
While awaiting the final decision on the Committee’s report, Mr Obateru said the NNPC has urged petroleum products marketers not to engage in hoarding of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) in order not to create artificial scarcity and unnecessary hardship for Nigerians.
Mr Obateru said the NNPC has sufficient stock of petroleum products to keep the nation well supplied for about 40 days.
The corporation called on relevant regulatory authorities to step up their monitoring responsibilities on the activities of marketers with a view to sanctioning those involved in products hoarding or arbitrary increase of pump price.
In March last year, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, had called for the full deregulation of nation’s downstream sector of the petroleum industry to ensure the prices of petroleum products would be determined by prevailing market forces.