The body charged with the responsibility of regulating the price of petroleum products in Nigeria, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) yesterday denied speculations of fuel price increase currently making rounds.
The agency in a press statement signed by its spokesperson, Lanre Oladele assured Nigerians of the availability of the products, stressing that stories making the rounds in the media of possibility of price hike due to outstanding debt and foreign exchange to fund importation are misleading.
According to the statement, “The attention of the management of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has been drawn to the speculations in the media of an imminent fuel scarcity over marketers’ unpaid N660bn debt and other sundry issues. The stories under reference claimed, among others that ‘fuel queues may return to retail outlets across the country anytime soon, following the federal government’s inability to settle marketers’ N660bn debt and non-availability of foreign exchange (FOREX) to fund fuel imports.”
“PPPRA wishes to state unequivocally that these stories are gross misrepresentation of available facts at our disposal, hence misleading,” the statement added.
Explaining what the situation is, it said, “For the avoidance of doubts, the National Petroleum Products Stock data and import plan, currently indicate that the country has two (2) months (Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as PMS) sufficiency, hence we want to assure motorists and commuters alike, that the products supply situation is robust and able to cater for the fuel needs of all Nigerians, pending when ongoing challenges are addressed.”
On the claims of scarcity of kerosene, the agency stated that the product is fully deregulated hence importers can sell at a price they consider appropriate.
“As a corollary to the above, PPPRA also wants to inform that contrary to a widely-held belief on the status of HHK (Kerosene), the product is fully deregulated.”
The agency appeal to Nigerians to remain calm and desist from any form of panic-buying, while advising Depot owners to sell at approved price
“We hereby appeal to all Nigerians to to remain calm and desist from any form of panic-buying, as we assure of our total commitment to adequate products supply and distribution across the country, in line with our mandate.”
“We also appeal to all Depot Owners to adhere strictly to the subsisting truck-out principle in order to ensure that products get to retail outlets across the country in a seamless manner. The Agency shall not hesitate to apply appropriate sanctions where necessary.”
It will be recalled that Depot and Petroleum Product Marketers Association (DAPPMA) on Wednesday revealed that the Federal Government owning her members over N660 billion for imported fuel and interest differentials on bank loans sourced for imports.
The association warned of the possibility of petroleum products scarcity as its members were finding it difficult to continue to import product, as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) now import 90 per cent of the country’s fuel as against the statutory 30 per cent it use to do.