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PMS: Confusion over N5 per litre price slash

PPPRA doesn’t recognise new cost lMarketers not aware of cut

Confusion has greeted the N5 per litre price reduction on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol.Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, had said that the pump price of petrol had been reduced by N5 effective from December 14, 2020. “Our discussion was fruitful and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which is the major importer and marketers of petroleum product and customers have agreed that there will be a slide down of the pump price of PMS.

“The price cut will get us about N5 per litre and that the price cut will take effect from next Monday, a week from today,” he said. A few hours after the announcement, petroleum marketers, however, told New Telegraph categorically that they were not aware of the price reduction. Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) also did not approve or reflect this new price on its website as at the time of filing this report.

The government, Ngige reportedly said, earlier Tuesday, reduced the pump price of petrol from N168.44 per litre to N162.44 per litre effective from December 14. But the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Clement Isong, said that the marketers’ group did not have information on the price reduction. “Let me get clarity as to what has happened. As we speak, I do not have details of what actually happened,” he told New Telegraph on phone. Spokesman for PPPRA, Mr. Kimchi Apollo, did not pick calls made to his cell phone. He did not also reply a text message seeking clarifications on the declaration of price reduction by the minister.

A source at the PPPRA told this newspaper that the product had been deregulated and, therefore, any announcement by the minister is an aberration. This view was corroborated by an analyst, Timothy Adebare.

He said: “I believe, from a policy point, we have to ask if we’re back to “price modulation.” If that is the case, the Federal Government is only validating concerns of many who draw attention to the damaging impact of policy such inconsistency on planning and investor ratings.

“To the best of my knowledge, NNPC is the sole importer of PMS (I stand to be corrected). My comment is by no means a denial of the economic impact of higher PMS cost on citizens, merely an observation that in the long term, price control (read subsidy) is not sustainable.” Fielding questions from reporters at the end of a meeting with labour leaders, which began at 9p.m. on Monday and ended at 1:30a.m.

on Tuesday, the minister who was emphatic about the reduction, did not, however, quote any data from the PPPRA, an agency under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources saddled with the statutory power to announce price adjustments.

The product presently sells at N168 per litre, following the decision of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Federal Government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to increase the ex-depot price of petrol from N147.67 per litre to N155.17 per litre in November. The ex-depot price is the price at which the product is sold by the PPMC to marketers at the depots. Ngige stated that the committee, which will report back to the larger house on 25th January, next year, would be appraising the market forces and every other thing that will make for stability in the industry.

 

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