The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday said it had not effected any increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit and as such the pump price of the commodity had not been hiked.
But on the other hand, oil marketers who dispense the products at the pumps stated that while NNPC claimed not to have increased ex-depot price, private depot owners had raised their prices.
This, they said, had led to the rise in the pump price of petrol in some filling stations, adding that the cost of the commodity would definitely rise in other outlets in the coming days.
Meanwhile, it was observed that queues of motorists surfaced in some filling stations in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states.
The NNPC filling station on Arab Road in Kubwa, IBWAS filling station on Kubwa-Zuba expressway, among others in Zuba, Niger State, had queues of motorists on Thursday morning, as similar scenarios played out in some other locations.
The spokesperson of NNPC, Kennie Obateru, said there was no increase in petrol price in February.
He noted that this was in spite of the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market, adding that NNPC had ruled out any increment in the ex-depot price of petrol in February 2021.
Obateru said the decision was to allow ongoing engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders to be concluded as regards an acceptable framework that would not expose Nigerians to hardship.
The corporation urged petroleum products marketers not to engage in hoarding of petrol in order not to create artificial scarcity, as it stated that it had enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for about 40 days.
The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Ukadike, told our correspondent in Abuja that dealers met to address the price concern in the downstream sector.
He said, “We met as regards the emerging trend in the downstream supply of petroleum products. We had a Central Working Committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday) where stakeholders looked at the trends.
“We were able to look at some of the policies and the introduction of e-payments by PPMC and the challenges therein, as well as the issue of buying products from other private depots and the profiteering in that section.”
He said independent marketers were currently buying PMS at between N160 and N161/litre from private depots, while the government approved pump price at filling stations was N162 to N165/litre.
Ukadike stated that with the current development, it was difficult for marketers to profitably sell at the approved pump price, stressing that the cost of petrol would definitely increase soon.
He said, “The queues building up at filling stations show that the supply system has been disrupted a bit, but the spokesperson of NNPC is saying that they have 40 days sufficiency.
“And because the PPMC has not come out with its price schedule for February, this made tank farms to withhold products because they don’t know if price will increase or decrease. But definitely it is going to increase.”