The Nigerian government says it will not increase the pump price of petrol despite a demand that it should consider the removal of the price cap.
This is coming as a reaction to a request made by the forum of former Group Managing Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) on Sunday.
They had called for the removal of the price cap of 145 Naira per litre, which was set in May by the Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, insisting that it was not harmonious with the liberalisation policy of the Federal Government.
A statement by the NNPC’S spokesman, Mr Garba Mohammed, said the 145 Naira per litre price cap did not go well together with the liberalisation policy when factors such as the foreign exchange rate, crude cost and Nigerian Ports Authority charges remain uncapped.
The price cap had been set when the dollar exchange rate at the parallel market was less than 300 Naira, with the government saying the decision was to ensure that marketers do not sell petrol at their desired price.
Giving the government’s position on the request for price review, the acting Executive Secretary the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Sotonye Iyoyo, said that the agency would not accept the advice.
Mrs Iyoyo pointed out that the proposal was the personal opinion of the former Group Managing Directors of the NNPC.
“I am not aware that the government is planning any fuel price increase. We are in a liberalised market already,” she insisted.
On his part, the spokesman for the NNPC, Garba Mohammed, also described the advice, saying it was just an “opinion”.
The former Group Managing Directors of the NNPCalso expressed concern over the declining production level of crude oil in Nigeria and its consequences on the environment and the nation’s revenue.
They fear that if the current situation is left unchecked, it could lead to the crippling of the NNPCand the nation’s oil and gas sector.
Nigeria’s crude oil production had dipped by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.56 million bpd in the last few months due to attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region.
A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.
It had, however, few weeks ago, said it had agreed to a ceasefire and was ready for negotiations with the Federal Government.