NNPC sells below landing cost of N720, confirms subsidy is back

THE Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), has assured consumers that there is no planned price increase on the product.

This development has confirmed ‘subsidy is back’, since the current landing cost is N720, while the National Oil Company still sells at N615.

According to the National Oil Company,”we do not have the intention to increase our PMS pump prices as widely speculated, ”a statement officially placed on X account of the NNPC said.

“Dear esteemed customers, we at NNPC Retail value your patronage, and we do not have the intention to increase our PMS pump prices as widely speculated. Please buy the best quality products at the most affordable prices at our NNPC Retail Stations nationwide.”

Despite the the wide gulf between the landing cost and the selling price, the National Oil Company has failed to provide answers to who bridges the gap in the cost, which connfirmed the government still pays subsidy.

The Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria MOMAN, Clement Isong, told The ICIR that the organisation is determined to work with the government to facilitate full deregulation of the Petroleum downstream sector.

He stressed that the government must intensify efforts in providing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), alternatives to ensure alternatives for Nigerian workers and transportation of goods and services.

“CNG is 70 per cent cheaper according to our research. It will be better for the government to channel its intervention on transport logistics of moving foods from food belt states to urban centres and movement of people instead of petroleum price interventions,” he said.

As a result of the wide difference between the landing costs and prices at retail outlets, many petroleum products depots are currently deserted due to lack of products caused by foreign exchange rate volatility, as the landing cost of petrol, has increased to N720/litre, oil marketers said on Thursday.

Petroleum products’ dealers also stated that filling stations were shutting down daily in large numbers, as it was becoming increasingly tough to run the business. They feared possible widespread fuel scarcity in coming months, if the government withdraws interventions.

The landing cost of PMS into Nigeria had increased to N720/litre, up from N651/litre in August this year.

Speaking at the National Executive Council meeting of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) in Abuja on Thursday, the National President Benneth Korie, said a lot of depots were presently dried up or out of stock.

He said, “Depot owners are so terribly affected by the increasing cost of crude oil and exchange rate, to the extent that many depots are practically deserted as their owners are unable to secure bank loans to fund their business due to high-interest rates.

“Banks are not willing to guarantee funds release to stakeholders as a result of the difficulty, instability and galloping rates of foreign exchange and high cost of the dollar. Many depots are presently dried up or out of stock, and this is no gainsaying as it is evidently verifiable.”

He added, “Worst hit are filling stations whose owners find it extremely difficult to secure funds to procure products for their retail outlets. Both the independent and major marketers are so terribly affected.

“As of today, filling stations are shutting down in great numbers on a daily basis and dealers are going out of business, with many more on the verge of bankruptcy because of their inability to secure funds to facilitate orders for their stations.”

Korie said the government must therefore urgently come to the aid of the industry as quickly as possible to save it from an impending colossal collapse, which would result in a more devastating blow to the economy at large.

The Chief Executive Officer, PETROCAM Trading (Nig) Ltd., Patrick Ilo,said 52,000 metric tonnes of petrol imported by the company on Tuesday was already N720/litre without subsidies.

According to him, if the landing cost was already N720, the pump price should be around N729/litre in Lagos State if the Federal Government had truly stopped subsidising the product.

“This is the second time I am bringing in my vessel. But after bringing it in, I am trapped. I can’t sell it because I landed my own product at N720. And if you add transportation from depot to station, the value today should be N729/litre at the pump.”

He blamed the price hike on high foreign exchange rate, adding that the Federal Government was still subsidising petrol through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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