The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday assured Nigerians there was no plan by the Federal Government to increase the retail price petroleum products in March.
In allaying consumers’ fears about an imminent hike in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (popularly called petrol), the NNPC said contrary to speculations, there are no impending increase in the ex-depot price of petrol in March, 2021.
The NNPC spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, said the Corporation was not contemplating any adjustment in the price of petrol in March.
Mr Obateru says the government and the NNPC and its affiliate agencies are aware that any decision to increase the price of petrol would jeopardize the ongoing engagements with organized labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework of fuel pricing in the country.
He the organised Labour and the government are still dialoguinv on a framework for pricing petroleum products that would not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship.
NNPC also cautioned petroleum products marketers not to engage in arbitrary price increase or hoarding of petroleum products in order not to create artificial scarcity and unnecessary hardship for Nigerians.
The Corporation reassured consumers to avoid engaging in panic buying petroleum products as there is sufficient stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for over 40 days.
It further called on relevant regulatory authorities to step up their monitoring functions on the activities of marketers with a view to sanctioning those involved in products hoarding or arbitrary increase of pump price.
Fuel queues resurfaces in Abuja, environs
In Abuja and environs on Sunday, long queues of motorists resurfaced at most filling stations as speculations became rife that a new fuel price regime was in the offing as the new month was approaching.
For several days, speculations about agitations by petroleum products for government to adjust the retail price of the commodity has been going on across the country.
There were even reports of marketers associations who, without approval from the petroleum product pricing regulatory agency, proceeded to announce new petrol prices in some parts of the country.
The announcement seriously fuelled the fear by consumers that higher price of petroleum products are indeed imminent.
Although the government denounced such arbitrary announcements and ordered the affected marketers to revert to the old price, most people are still afraid.
Following the last increment of the price petrol, organised Labour protested the decision and threatened an indefinite industrial action nationwide if the government did not reverse the decision.
To find an acceptable framework to handle issue of price of petroleum products in the country going forward, a bilateral committee was constituted to agree on the way forward.
The committee has since submitted its report to the government, but the organised had asked for some time to consult its members on a common position.
The leadership of Labour at the end of the National Executive Council last week maintained that it was of the firm believe that the only way out of the current crisis was the rehabilitation of the country’s four refineries and ensure the supply of petroleum products was not based on imports.