By Ejiofor Alike
Despite the slight reduction in the pump price of petrol by some oil marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in many retail outlets across the country, the ex-depot price of the product has remained stable, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.
It was also gathered that even though some marketers and the NNPC have reduced the pump price to N143, the new price is still within the official price range of N135 –N145 approved by the federal government on May 11, 2016.
The market survey conducted by THISDAY at the weekend showed that all the 12 depots that had petrol in Lagos were selling at between N130.50 and N132. 50, which was the same price range before the NNPC and some marketers reduced the pump price from N145 to N143 per litre.
Investigation further showed that both the ex-depot price range and the N143 pump are still within the official range of prices recommended by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on May 11, 2016 when the N145 pump price took effect.
The agency had recommended a retail price band of N135 – N145 per litre for filling stations and indicative ex-depot price of between N123.28 and N133.28 per litre for product that is in the depots, via circular No. A.4/9/017/C.2/IV/690.
However, for petrol that is still in the mother vessel at the high sea, the ex-depot price or coastal price was fixed at N116.63 –N126.63 per litre as the marketer will incur additional expenses to hire daughter vessels to lift the product to the depots.
Some marketers, who spoke to THISDAY at the weekend, argued that N145 was not the only official pump price but the maximum limit, adding that unless the price goes down below the lower limit of N135 per litre, the country would not celebrate drop in pump price.
“When the PPPRA fixed the price range at N135 –N145, the thinking was that for market competitiveness, products should be selling at different pump prices within this official range depending on the location of the retail outlets and the part of the country. But because of the pressure on foreign exchange, everybody got stuck to the maximum limit of N145 as if that was the only official price. Now, that the pressure has reduced and some people are selling at N143, they are making a big deal out of it. We are supposed to be seeing different prices at, let’s say, N135, 138, 140, 142, 144, 145 in different filling stations across the country. And not everybody sticking to one price,” one of the marketers explained.
NNPC recently claimed that its sustained strategic intervention in the efficient supply and distribution petroleum products had led to ‘significant’ fall in the prices of petrol and cooking gas.
However, before the corporation went to town with the news that its mega and affiliate stations across the country were selling the product for N143 per litre, many major and independent marketers were already selling at that price in some parts of the country.