Fuel stations in Lagos have reportedly hiked their pump prices to N170 per litre.
This hike is due to the unofficial resumption of subsidy payment (under recovery) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Observers revealed that queue has returned in some petrol stations in parts of Lagos State with customers rushing to buy and store to avoid subsequent hike.
The price of Nigeria’s Bonny Light had risen to $63.11 on Wednesday in the international market, causing the landing cost of petrol in Nigeria to rise to N180 per liter.
As against speculations last week that the pump price would be jacked up by the Federal Government in line with its avowed commitment to total deregulation of the downstream sector of the nation’s oil/gas industry, NNPC announced that the pump price remains unchanged in March even as some fuel stations in Lagos had unofficially started selling the product at N170 per liter.
The spokesman of the NNPC, Kennie Obateru, had in a statement on Monday said,
“Prices will remain the same in order not to jeopardize ongoing engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship.”
This is the third straight month that prices haven’t moved. However, queues of vehicles formed outside some filling stations in Lagos this week, an indication that the NNPC could be running low on stocks and consumers are already panicking.
This often occurs when the cost of subsidies become unbearable for the government. The NNPC warned “marketers”, the firms that buy gasoline from the company and sell to consumers, not to hoard the product.
Recall that the NNPC had said there is “enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for over 40 days”.
The Federal Government seized the opportunity of the collapse in oil prices last year to remove subsidies on fuel that made the product one of the cheapest globally.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said in September that Nigeria expected to save as much as N1 trillion ($2.4 billion) a year after abolishing the support that the state has provided since the 1980s.
The NNPC is the sole importer of petrol in the country and is taking the hit by not increasing the price at which it sells to the firms that distribute the product around the country.