Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva, on Friday assured Nigerians there would be no increase in petrol price now till the end of the ongoing consultations with organized labour on the issue.
Sylva gave the assurance following the confusion that trailed the publication of the latest guide to the petrol pricing template by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) for March 2021 late on Thursday.
The publication by the petroleum products pricing regulatory agency on its website showed the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, increasing by more than 31.24 percent, or about N50.61 from the current pump price of N162 per litre.
The pricing template for the period, February 1 and 28 2021, showed the lower price band for petrol at about N209.61 per litre, and the upper band at about N212.61 per litre.
The publication by the PPPRA suggested to Nigerians the Federal Government may have sanctioned another petrol price increment, contrary to recent reports of plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to see to a reduction of the price of the commodity to about N100 per litre.
But the minister said there was no truth in the speculations about an increase in the price of petrol to N212.6 per litre.
“Irrespective of the source of that information, I want to assure you that it is completely untrue. Neither Mr. President who is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, or my humble self who deputize for him as Minister of State, has approved that the pump price of petrol should be increased by one Naira. I would therefore urge you to disregard this misleading information,” the Minister said in a statement though his spokesperson, Garbadeen Mohammed.
He reminded the people about the consultation with organized labour since last year to find a response to the global increase in the price of crude oil, which he noted, led to increase in the price of petrol.
The Minister said it would be unthinkable for the government to unilaterally abandon those discussions and decide to authorize an increase in the price of petrol now.
He assured that the engagement with the organized labour and other interest groups would continue until an acceptable framework was found for the pricing of petroleum products in the country.
PPPRA clarifies role
On its part, the PPPRA denied that the Guiding Prices posted on its website suggested an approved increment of petrol price in the country, rather it was only indicative of current market trends which do not translate to any increase in pump price of PMS.
Describing reports on the publication as “misconstrued and misleading”, the Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Abdulkadir Saidu, reminded the people of the introduction of the market-based pricing regime for PMS Regulation 2020 as gazetted by the Federal Government.
Based on the regulation, Saidu said prices of petroleum products are expected to be determined by market realities in line with the dictates of market forces.
“One of the conditions for the implementation of the market-based pricing regime for PMS Regulation 2020 is the monthly release of Guiding Price to reflect current market fundamentals.
“The PPPRA in line with its mandate to maintain constant surveillance over all key indices relevant to pricing policy, monitors market trends on a daily basis to determine Guiding Prices,” he explained.
Mindful of the ongoing discussion between the government and the organized Labour on the deregulation policy, and the ongoing consultations with relevant stakeholders, Saidu said PPPRA would not fix or announce any fuel price increase till further notice.
He said although market fundamentals for PMS in the past few months indicated upward price trends, the current PMS price would be maintained till consultations were concluded.