The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers have stressed the need for strict compliance with the new pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, as the product is still being sold above the regulated price in many parts of the country.
The Federal Government through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency had last week announced that retail filling stations belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation would from January 1, 2016 sell petrol at N86 per litre, while other marketers would sell the product at N86.50 per litre, as against the old pump price of N87.
The Chairman, TUC Rivers State, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, said in a telephone interview, “I think that with what the government has done, you will not expect the marketers to hurriedly comply, given the character of the marketers we have in Nigeria. These are people that even when the fuel was N87, at every opportunity they had, they wanted to sell at N130 or N140.
“The way to ensure that they sell at the new price is for the Department of Petroleum Resources, the NNPC, and the security agencies to collaborate and enforce the price. Then, state governments should set up a task force to monitor the marketers, the distribution of petroleum products and ensure that petroleum products meant for their states get there and that they are sold to the people at the correct prices.”
He said the marketers were manipulating the prices because of lack of collaboration in the enforcement of the new price.
The revised PPPRA template as of December 31, 2015 put the Estimated Open Market Price of petrol at N84.78 for the NNPC fuel stations and N85.1 for stations run by other marketers.
The EOMP is the summation of the landing cost of petrol and subtotal margins. Such margins are for retailers, transporters, dealers, bridging fund, marine transport average and administrative charge.
“As far as I am concerned, and that is the opinion of those who are informed about the industry, there is no subsidy anymore,” Onuegbu said, adding that the PPPRA pricing template had some inefficiencies until the recent review.
He also said, “I don’t want to take the position that the government has removed subsidy. My position is that the government has reviewed the PPPRA template and has seen clearly that at the price of N86.50, subsidy will no longer be paid because there is nothing to subsidise and, therefore, Nigerians can buy the product at that price and the government will not have to pay marketers any money.”
The Chairman, NUPENG, Lagos Zone, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, noted that many of the filling stations had been complying with the new price regime, but that some were giving excuses for non-compliance.
He said, “The reason why some of them are giving excuses, which are not tenable, is that they bought the product at a higher price. Some of them stockpiled their stations when we were entering the festive period with the intention that as it was the usual practice, there would be an increase in fuel price early in the New Year. But the reverse is the case. So, that was why some of them were caught napping now.”