PRICES of petroleum motor spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol, are nearing N700/per litre in some major filling stations across Nigeria, The ICIR findings have shown.
Also, queues have started resurfacing in most filling stations, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPCL) owned petroleum retail outlets, which sell below market-reflective price.
Our correspondent confirmed that most filling stations in Owerri, Imo State capital, now sell fuel at N700/per litre.
Consequently, drivers are increasing their fares.
“Drivers are already adjusting the fares to sustain their business. From the Popular World Bank road to Douglas Junction, which previously cost N300, is now N500. From Control Junction to the Wetheral, previously N200, is now N500,” an Owerri Intra-state driver, Okezie Kalu, told The ICIR.
In Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Abia states, the product sells above N650-N670/per litre price band.
In Portharcourt, fuel in major retail outlets, as confirmed by marketers, is N670/per litre.
In Kaduna and some parts of Kano, the price band is N630-N645, as NNPCL sells N620/per litre.
A member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Dickson Aja, also confirmed to our correspondent that fuel In Edo and Delta now sells at N640-N645.
In Lagos, the NNPCL sells N590/per litre, while some major retail outlets sell above N600/per litre.
Further checks showed the NNPCL in Abuja selling at N613/per litre in most of their retail outlets, forcing long queues.
The ICIR reported how NNPCL remained the sole importer of PMS and maintained a price ceiling below the market-reflective price.
Marketers have raised concern over this development, which they said could see rising queues in NNPCL-owned filling stations due to price disparity.
NNPCL has longer queues, while some marketers struggle to compete and open for businesses,The ICIR findings further showed.
For instance, at NNPCL in Wuse Zone 6, there was a long queue of motorists on Monday, November 13, because of non-reflective market pricing.
This development, marketers said, is not helping healthy competition with the NNPCL.
“Most of our marketers cannot import and sell because of dollar scarcity and NNPCL price-ceiling. If you look around, you will see many filling stations not selling, which is a problem for our members,” the chairman of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Billy Gillis-Harry, told The ICIR.
Some marketers told The ICIR that the price would keep rising according to global market realities since they had to factor in their logistics costs and fluctuating foreign exchange to recover costs and remain in business.
“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 the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, Adetunji Oyebanji, told The ICIR.
He noted that logistics costs seriously influenced the price.
“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.
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.