Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) wednesday said the recent increase in petrol bridging allowance to transporters from N6.2 to N7.20 per litre would not lead to an increase in the pump price of petrol from the prevailing price of N145 per litre.
A statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja stated that the Chief Operating Officer in charge of NNPC’s downstream operations, Mr. Henry Ikem Obih gave the assurance.
Ikem-Obih, said there was no plan by government or any of its agencies to review the pump price of petrol above N145 per litre.
He explained that the rise in the bridging cost was achieved after an adjustment was made in the “lightering expenses” from N4 to N3 per litre and the difference transferred to compensate for the cost of bridging within the same template.
According to the statement, the bridging allowance refers to the cost element built into the products pricing template to ensure a uniform price of petrol across the country, while lightering expenses involve charges for moving products to depot area from mother vessels by light vessels due to the inability of the former to berth in shallow water depth.
It quoted Ikem-Obih to have said: “What happened, in simple language, is a rebalancing of the margins allowed and approved for stakeholders. So what the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) did was to take N1 from lightering expenses and add same to the bridging allowance. That is how we arrived at N7.20. Therefore, PMS remains at the ceiling of N145 per litre.”
On the availability of product supply, he also said as at today, the country had 1.3 billion litres of petrol which translated to an inventory of 36 days.
“What this means is that even if we stop importation or refining of petrol right now, we have enough products in-country to provide for the needs of every Nigerian for a period of 36 days,” he said.
He equally noted that the supply availability was bolstered with the production of petrol from the three refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.
According to him, “There is absolutely no risk of shortage in supply as we also continue to import to support the production from the refineries, we have informed the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to enforce the prevailing N145 per litre price regime and also ensure that every service station that has fuel is selling to the public.”
Ikem-Obih reiterated the readiness of the NNPC to sustain the existing cordial relations between it and the leadership of the downstream industry unions and other stakeholders.
He said the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which is the regulatory arm of the industry had been alerted to sanction fuel station owners who engage in hoarding or charge consumers in excess of the approved pump price of petrol.
The Group Managing Director of the corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, had earlier in week announced the review of the bridging allowance at a mediation meeting between the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), thus leading to suspension of a strike action embarked upon by members of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).