THE Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) is now the sole importer of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), in the country, The ICIR findings have shown.
This development, analysts say, is not good for a deregulated market, as licensed marketers struggle to import and fairly compete with NNPCL.
Already, some marketers have closed shops, many of whom cannot access foreign exchange dollars at the official rate. The NNPCL easily accesses the dollars.
To worsen the concern, the national oil company – NNPCL – has also failed to effect market-reflective pricing, which tactically freezes out other market competition in the deregulated market.
“NNPCL is the sole importer of premium motor spirit. If they are not changing the price to suit current market realities, it is a challenge for us the marketers,”a former Chairman of Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, Adetunji Oyebanji told The ICIR.
Oyebanji, while responding to the arbitrage of market-price influence by some marketers, attributed it to the high transportation and logistics costs from depots in Lagos to other parts of the country.
“The freight charge is going up because of the high cost of diesel. For instance, you can get N800,000 as transport costs from Lagos to Abuja for a truckload of fuel. However, it is N1.2 million worth of diesel that would suffice. This is one of the reasons marketers increase fuel prices to recover costs,” Adetunji said.
Further checks by The ICIR showed diesel sells for N1,270 per litre in Kano State and above that outside the metropolis.
This implies a 26 per cent increase in the product’s price in less than one week. It had sold for N1,030 on October 23.
As of Thursday, many filling stations in Lagos adjusted their price to N1,250 and N1,270.
These market realities also affected the price of transportation logistics for PMS, marketers say.
The ICIR calls to officials at the NNPCL were not responded to.
Marketers re-strategise to compete
For some marketers, NNPCL’s huge influence in PMS market pricing could remove them from business if the scarcity of foreign exchange persists.
The National President of Petroleum Retail Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Billy Gillis-Harry, told The ICIR that marketers were being frozen out with NNPCL as the sole importer of fuel.
“It’s not a fair ground for us to compete for now. Ask many people who are licensed and see whether they’re importing. What we’re doing currently is sourcing for partners abroad who could give us dollars to import, and we, in turn, pay back in naira. This development would ensure we stay in business,” Gillis-Harry said.
Marketers in Abuja sell above NNPC price ceiling
Checks around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) showed PMS prices selling at N640 in most filling stations, at least N23 more than the NNPC’s selling for between N613 and N617.
The total filling station in Kubwa, an outskirt of the FCT, sells at N629/per litre.
Also, Evergreen Petrol Station in Kubwa sells at N660, with mild queues at the filling station as of Wednesday, November 1.
At Total Filling Station in Kubwa, the price is N629 per litre.
Meanwhile, further checks in some states in the South-East showed petrol sells above N640 per litre.
A member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Enugu, Chijioke Iwuji, who confirmed the development, told The ICIR that most petrol retail outlets sold above N640 in Enugu, Owerri, Awka and Umuahia on Friday, November 3.
The NNPCL filling Station in Arab Road Kubwa sells at N613/per litre and has a few motorists.
The pump attendant complained of a drop in sales.
Petrol pump price remains below N600 in Lagos
The pump price of petrol has remained below N600 across filling stations in Lagos State.
Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, has yet to experience a pump price hike above the NNPCL price ceiling at N617.
A survey conducted by The ICIR reporter in Lagos showed that NNPC filling stations have the lowest adjusted pump price at N568.
In the various locations surveyed, there were no fuel queues except at NNPC in Ejigbo.
At Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, the NNPC filling station sells petrol at N568 per litre while Mobil at the exact location sells at N593.
NIPCO filling station at Ago Palace Way, Okota, sells petrol at N599 pump. In contrast, the Petrocam filling station at the hotel bus stop, Igando Road, a community in the Alimosho local government area, sells at N595.
NIPCO at Fadeyi sells fuel at N599, while NNPCL at the exact location sells fuel at N568.
At the Barracks Bus Stop, Surulere, a Conoil filling station, sells at N593, while an MRS filling station at Alaka Surulere sells at N590.
In Onipan, the Total filling station sells at N590 while the Mobil filling station before Anthony Village, when coming from Yaba, sells at N593.
Northwest Petroleum filling station at Gbagada sells at N595, and Eterna Petrol filling station, the exact location, sells at the same pump price.
The NNPCL filling station in Ejigbo, already alluded to, sells at N568 like its sister stations; however, there were light queues.
“Commuters want to buy at a cheaper rate,” a private car driver, Anthony Emenime, who plies that location, told The ICIR.
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.