Reactions have trailed NNPC's claims that the price of petroleum and gas has crashed following interventions by the state-owned oil company.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Sunday announced that its sustained strategic intervention in the efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products had led to a significant fall in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, across the country.
It added that the intervention had also warranted a significant drop in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, also known as cooking gas, nationwide.
The corporation said a national survey by its oil and gas forum indicated that in the last few weeks, the price of petrol had fallen steadily from N145 per litre to between N143 and N142 per litre in some stations across the country.
But oil marketers under the aegis of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association refuted the NNPC’s claims on the crash of the PMS price, arguing that the corporation might have reduced petrol price at its stations because of its relative ease of assessing foreign exchange.
The NNPC said one of the respondents in the survey and a manager at an independent fuel retail station in Abuja, Mohammed Abdullahi, confirmed that his station was selling petrol at N142 per litre in line with the prevailing market situation in order to sustain the turnover of the business and attract more motorists to its outlet.
It quoted another independent marketer in Mosimi, Emeka kechukwu, as saying that the ex-depot prices of petrol had dropped from N138 per litre in most depots to N133.28 in the NNPC depots and between N130 and N131 per litre in private depots.
It, however, noted that the situation was slightly different in Aba and Umuahia in Abia State, and Calabar in Cross River State, where most independent fuel stations as well as major marketers sold the product at N145 per litre.
“The study showed that the NNPC mega and affiliate stations across the country are selling the product for N143 per litre, while the pump price range from N142 to N145 per litre in some major and independent marketers in Lagos, Abuja, Sokoto, Enugu, Delta and other major cities,” the national oil firm said in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu.
The survey, it said, showed a similar trend of drop in the prices of cooking gas with the average cost of refilling a 5kg cylinder at N2,215.96, in contrast to the former price of N2,500.
The study further revealed that states with the lowest average price for the 5kg LPG refill were Kaduna and Niger, at N2,000; Kogi at N2,005.00; and Oyo at N2,033.33.
It stated that at the NNPC mega and retail stations nationwide, a 12.5kg of cooking gas that was sold for N4,500 a few months ago had dropped to N3,800, while other retail outlets were selling the same quantity at N4,000.
“The NNPC has sustained its interventions through improvement in the supply of the products and remodelling of distribution channels to address sufficiency issues across the country,” the corporation said.
It added that it had stepped up the resuscitation of some of its critical pipelines and depots such as the Atlas Cove-Mosimi Depot Pipeline, Port Harcourt Refinery-Aba Depot Pipeline, Kaduna-Kano Pipeline and the Kano Depot, adding that the facilities had enhanced efficiency in products distribution.
“Efforts are also ongoing by the NNPC to revamp other critical pipelines and depots across the country to further push down the prices of petroleum products for the benefit of consumers,” the oil firm said.
But the Executive Secretary, DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, told a Punch correspondent that members of group were still selling petrol at N145 per litre, adding that he was not aware that the price of the product had crashed.
He said, “I’m not aware the price of petrol has crashed. My people are still selling at N145 per litre. So if the NNPC has crashed its price, it doesn’t have the overhead that we have; it is not repaying loans to banks like we are paying and government is not owing the NNPC like it owns us.
“So, we are operating in the same market but different conditions. Maybe they (NNPC) crashed the PMS price in their own petrol stations. Government owes marketers foreign exchange and interest on loan repayment for the past two years. Is it these marketers that will now sell at a price that they cannot get the product?”
Adewole added, “My own people in DAPPMA are selling at N145 per litre and that is the official market price. If the NNPC is selling at a lower price, you should know that the NNPC is not being owed by government; it is not going to banks to borrow money that it has to pay interest on when repaying. Also, the NNPC is not buying foreign exchange to import products.”