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Petrol stations stockpiling fuel ahead of new pump price announcement

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Petrol station owners are currently in panic buying mood, as many of them are stockpiling products ahead of the announcement of a new pump price for petrol in August, an investigation has shown.

It was also gathered that the price of the commodity might increase to about N150/litre as the committee saddled with the task of fixing petrol price had been meeting and would make the new price public soon.

Marketers and officials of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency told our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday that the rise in crude oil price in the international market could lead to an increase in petrol price.

They noted that since March this year, the cost of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, had always been adjusted based on the global prices of crude oil.

“There is panic buying and it is because of the worry that prices will be reviewed either downwards or upwards. But because of the marginal rise in crude oil prices, the calculation is that petrol price could go up,” the National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said.

He added, “That is the situation and this was why we requested that there should be a stakeholders’ engagement every month or quarterly so that we can be sure of what to expect.”

He said many marketers who had stockpiled products were ready to sell at the current rate regardless of any increase.

Gillis-Harry noted that the failure of the pricing regulator to involve marketers in the price fixing process was putting dealers in bad light.

He, however, stated that a lot of marketers had determined not to hike petrol cost immediately, particularly if there was an increase in the price of PMS in August.

The PETROAN president said, “Many of our members have been buying products since (July) 22nd and now they have products lined up, hoping that if PPPRA increases price, they will manage the cost in a way that Nigerians will know that we are not out to profiteer.

“We are out there to give service. So if we got products at this current rate of about N143 and they are ready to shoot the price up to N155, which is what is being anticipated, we will still sell at N143.”

Gillis-Harry said marketers would not take advantage of any petrol price increase, adding that a task force had already been established to work on enforcement of agreed terms.

He further noted that marketers had written to the petroleum minister, the PPPRA, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company on the need to involve marketers when fixing prices.

Gillis-Harry said, “From March to July, there was no clear-cut permutation or formula that we as marketers can affirm that this is the reason why the price changed from this to that. We don’t have it.

“And we’ve kept asking what the parameters are because the information we have is that marketers margin is going to increase. There was no such increase in margin; rather, there was depletion of our buying capital.”

In June, the PPPRA insisted that it would continue providing price bands for petrol despite opposition by oil marketers regarding the move.

It also declared that regulation for PMS price had been established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

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