Serious tension is building up at fuel depots and filling stations across the country as Federal Government’s new (August) price band for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol suffers delay.
There was a hike in the price during the last time the monthly price band was released by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), an agency in charge of pricing for the product. New Telegraph gathered yesterday that the over 22 depots with the products started marginal reduction in loading activities “in expectation of the new band, which may be another hike based on high crude oil prices in July.”
Spokesman for the agency, Kimchi Apollo, however, told the New Telegraph that works were still ongoing on the August petrol price band advisory.
The agency usually releases the band on the eve of a new month or the first day of a new month. He said that the delay in releasing the August band was worthwhile as the figures would be released any moment.
“As we speak, work is still ongoing on the advisory. I am not a member of the committee, which is working assiduously on the pricing advice as we speak, but what I can confirm to you is that works are still ongoing,”
Apollo said in a telephone chat with this newspaper. It was, however, gathered that the fear of creating crisis in the country prevented the agency from announcing a higher price earlier. The crude oil prices have recorded increase at the global market. They are one of the cardinal indices for fixing a price band for the product.
Meanwhile, all the filling stations visited in Ota and along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway in Ogun did not dispense product from all their pump units. Most of them shut down all pump units on their front row while only dispensing from the ones at the rear.
Only Enyo Filling Station in Ota dispensed the product from two pumps units at the rear while the six units at the front were not dispensing. This was also the case with all Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) members’ filling stations visited in Lagos.
An attendant at Rakaab Filling Station in Ayobo area of Lagos told New Telegraph that the act was an order from the manager. A manager in one of the major depots in Apapa, Lagos, confirmed that there were hiccups in activities at all depots because of this situation.
“No one knows for sure where the pendulum would swing, so it doesn’t make any business sense to sell off everything in our tanks. Mind you, the first two period this band was announced, we were forced to sell the stock, which we secured at higher price below the price and this was a huge loss for us,” he said.
The Federal Government had, on Wednesday, June 30, raised the pump price of petrol to between N140.80 and N143.80 for July, in one of the highest price movement in the last few months.
In March this year, the government said, thenceforth, the pump price of petrol would be determined by market forces, stating that how much Nigerians get the product at a retail price will be largely determined by the international prices of crude oil.
PPPRA, however, noted that although crude oil price and petroleum products prices were positively correlated, the prices of petroleum products do not increase or reduce correspondingly with changes in crude oil price.
The July increase remains the single highest price movement since the government said it had fully deregulated the downstream sector, although the PPPRA still ‘modulates’ or advises on a price band for every month.