* To sanction outlets selling above pump price

By Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has declared that the pump price of petrol at service stations across the country has not changed from the government-regulated price of N145 per litre, despite the recent controversy between the government and oil marketers over unpaid subsidy claims.

It, therefore, threatened to sanction outlets found to be selling the product above the approved pump price.

In a statement, the Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr. Abdulkadir Saidu, noted that the growing speculation of an imminent price increase of petrol was unfounded.

Saidu explained that the price hike speculation was propagated by some interest groups in the downstream oil sector, although he would not disclose their identity, adding that the retail price of petrol remains at the subsisting price cap of N145 per litre.

Calling on marketers to ensure that there was no price distortion in their respective retail outlets, Saidu stated that PPPRA shall continue to carry out its oversight function of monitoring depots and all the filling stations across the country, to ensure adherence to the regulated price and to nip in the bud other forms of sharp practices at retail outlets.

He also explained that adequate sanctions would be meted out to any erring filling stations found to have put its pump price above the government approved rate.

He assured Nigerians of PPPRA’s total commitment to service delivery and uninterrupted petroleum products supply and distribution, especially during the upcoming festive period and beyond.

According to him, motorists and other consumers of petrol would have to desist from panic-buying of the product, adding that the agency would be working hard with other agencies of government to ensure that there would be no shortfall in the supply and distribution of petroleum products across Nigeria.

On the oil marketers who are asking the government to pay off subsidy claims, or see them embark on a strike, Saidu stated that their decision to dialogue with the government to resolve the issues was welcoming.

He said: “Embarking on strike is not always the best option to address any industrial dispute, irrespective of the circumstances because the multiplier effects are always too much to bear.”

He appealed to the leadership of the oil marketers’ associations to cooperate with the government to find a workable solution to the issue emanating from the payment of subsidy arrears, and assured the oil marketers of PPPRA’s continuous support at ensuring a conducive industrial climate for all parties.