Nigeria has no plan to hike petrol price - Minister

FG plans to increase fuel price to N180 per litre

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Thursday described as shameful Nigeria's inability to refine its crude oil.

The Chairman, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Dapo Abiodun, had on Tuesday disclosed that the marketers could no longer import petrol at a controlled price of N145 per litre.

On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, his Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari, met with major stakeholders in the oil sector, at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

"We are still in meeting but update on the ongoing supply situation will come as a surprise as it should not be the case as people think".

On sanctions against alleged erring marketers, Mr. Kachikwu said even Nigerians who suffered during the crisis would want to be sure a lasting solution was found to the crisis, by finding evidence upon which to punish people.

"This is a democratic government".

"But the greatest hard in Nigeria is that people make allegations but when you ask for evidence even one, everybody now goes back into the safety nets".

"From our point of view as marketers, we made our submission known to government and we emphasized the fact that this was not a marketer-related problem". So you can imagine a situation where NNPC was importing in part and marketers were importing in part and then suddenly NNPC begins to import 100%.

The scarcity of the product, according to the ministry, was caused by hoarding and diversion.

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They also denied accusations that they were to blame for the scarcity of the product across the country.

He said the petrol stations, mostly in Abuja, were found to have diverted petrol supplied to them by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, the downstream subsidiary of the NNPC, for sale to the public.

"Two, to give room for modulated deregulation where NNPC would be allowed to continue selling at N145 per litre in all its mega stations across the country while the independent marketers should be allowed to sell at whatever price is profitable to them in all their outlets".

The Minister listed some of the measures that may paved the way to marketers' participation in the fuel import regime to include: flexible tax-wave window to accommodate extraneous cost elements, an exchange rate modulation programme and price plurality regime which could allow the Marketers sell at different a price from the NNPC's. Our business is to take petrol and sell.

On his part, President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said the meeting reached a resolution that would see the fuel supply problem resolved once and for all.

"I have said nobody sells crude in its form in the world and we have to have the technical capacity to do this".

The minister disclosed further that as a result of the N26 difference per litre between the current landing cost of the product ( N171) and pump price of N145, NNPC which had been singularly importing the product at the volume of 25 million litres per day since October past year, has been incurring a daily loss of about N800-N900 million, cumulatively reaching N85.5billion today, in just three months. "This is good news", he said.

Other members of the Kachikwu committee are the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, most parastatals under the ministry, IPMAN, DAPMAN and labour unions, among others.

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