By Chineme Okafor
Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector price regulator, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has said that the country can sustain its current daily petrol consumption of about 55 million litres for another 34 days, indicating thus that product scarcity could be farfetched.
Pockets of heavy queues for petrol recently emerged in the country due to PPPRA’s publication of a price guideline, which suggested that the market rate for a litre of petrol should be about N212. The federal government, however, claimed ignorance of the price and its implementation by oil marketers.
However, a stock data report of the PPPRA for March 11, obtained by THISDAY explained that the country had about 1.925 billion litres of petrol in storage and which could last for 34 days. Most of the volumes in store were, however, owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which also claimed last week that a raise in pump price was not in consideration despite rise in oil price in the international market.
According to the PPPRA, about 1.137 billion litres of petrol were in store in the country’s land-based storage facility while up to 788 million litres were in marine-based storage. It added that the land-based storage could last for 20 days while marine stocks would take the country for about 14 days.
Also, in store for about a month sufficiency according to the PPPRA is Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) which it said was about 99 million litres and 33 days sufficiency. The volume of diesel available in the country was put at 368 million litres and able to last for 26 days while domestic kerosene stock was 21 million which could last for 29 days.
Following its publication of the guiding price and a public outcry on its socio-economic implications, the PPPRA stated in a public statement that the prices were “only indicative of current market trends and do not translate to any increase in pump price of PMS.”
It however disclosed that a ‘Market-Based Pricing Regime for PMS Regulation 2020’ has been approved and gazetted by the government with which its deregulation of the downstream sector will be based.
“Based on this regulation, prices are expected to be determined by market realities in line with the dictates of market forces. One of the conditions for the implementation of the Market-Based Pricing Regime for PMS Regulation 2020 is the monthly release of guiding price to reflect current market fundamentals.
“The PPPRA in line with its mandate to maintain constant surveillance over all key indices relevant to pricing policy, monitors market trends on a daily basis to determine guiding prices,” it explained.
The PPPRA added that the NNPC became the sole importer of petrol in Nigeria due to prevailing challenges with the supply of the product.
“PPPRA is also mindful of the current discussion going on between the government and the organized labour on the deregulation policy. While consultation with relevant stakeholders is ongoing, PPPRA does not fix or announce prices and therefore there is no price increase,” it noted.