Filling Stations Defy Government Regulations, Selling Petrol at Inflated Prices Nationwide    - The Top Society

Filling Stations Defy Government Regulations, Selling Petrol at Inflated Prices Nationwide   

Prices: N685/litre Sokoto, N650/litre Delta, Bayelsa


Various filling stations, especially those managed by independent marketers, have begun selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, at prices surpassing the limits set by the Federal Government.

Reports indicate that some stations in the Northern region have hiked prices as high as N685 per litre, igniting nationwide concerns about the accessibility and affordability of this essential commodity.

This surge in prices follows a recent series of increments earlier this year.

In July, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) raised the pump price of petrol in Abuja and several Northern states from the previous range of N537 to N550 per litre to a significant N617 per litre. Similarly, the South-West experienced an increase from the former range of N488 to N500 per litre to approximately N580 per litre, while the South-South saw prices escalate from N515 per litre to roughly N600 per litre.

A crucial factor contributing to this unsettling trend is the NNPCL’s status as the sole importer of petrol into the country. With other private oil marketers halting imports due to their inability to obtain the requisite United States dollars, the NNPCL has assumed a dominant role in the importation process.

Consequently, any adjustments made by NNPCL stations are seen as reflective of the government-approved rise in petrol prices.

“The price of petrol at NNPCL stations is believed to be the approved price by the government. So once the NNPCL raises its price, every other marketer adjusts his own,” the Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, stated.

President Bola Tinubu’s declaration ending the subsidy on petrol during his inaugural address on May 29, caused petrol prices to skyrocket from N198 per litre to over N500 per litre on May 30, 2023.

Despite set price bands of around N580 per litre in the South and N617 per litre in the North, observations revealed pervasive overpricing, particularly in the North where certain states such as Sokoto and Taraba saw prices reach an alarming N685 per litre.

In the capital city of Abuja, independent dealers inflated pump prices to as high as N630 per litre, while unauthorized street vendors sold fuel in jerrycans at a staggering N850 per litre. Discrepancies were also noted at various fuel stations, with Aso Energy Resources Station in Kubwa Phase 2 dispensing fuel at N630 per litre, surpassing the approved rate of N617 per litre.

The situation in Lagos and Ekiti has been equally disruptive, with several stations shutting down and prices exceeding the official range.

Petrol Scarcity Hits Lagos as Marketers Close Outlets

In Ado Ekiti, Matrix, an independent marketer, dispensed petrol at N610 per litre, surpassing the standard rate of N580 per litre. In Lagos, both NNPCL and independent marketers were found selling at elevated rates, reaching between N600 and N620 per litre.

Meanwhile, in the Sokoto metropolis, the scarcity of petrol persisted, pushing independent marketers to sell at an exorbitant N680 to N685 per litre, well above the N615 to N620 per litre charged by NNPCL-operated stations. In Delta State, stations in Asaba and its surroundings varied in their pricing, with rates ranging from N615 to N650 per litre.

Similarly, Bayelsa experienced price fluctuations between N620 and N650 per litre, with Rainoil along the Mbiama-Yenagoa Road and Isaac Boro Expressway reducing costs from N650 to N630 per litre. Katsina State faced station closures with those open for business charging N640 per litre, while the Matrix filling station at the Kofar Kaoran roundabout remained operational at the same price point.

Chief Chinedu Ukadike, the Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, attributed the increased cost at independent retail outlets to the steep price of diesel, emphasizing the complexities underlying the current petrol price crisis.

“We spend over N2m to transport PMS from the South to the Northern part of Nigeria and who is to pay for that cost? Diesel is now more than N1,000/litre and it is a critical component for transporting petrol,” he stated.

Ukadike verified that the petrol cost in the region surpassed the approved price ranges, particularly at independent dealer-operated stations, emphasizing the pivotal role of the exorbitant diesel prices.

He clarified that the comparatively lower prices at NNPCL retail stations and major marketers’ outlets were a result of their possession of tank farms and depots, enabling them to procure products independently.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, responsible for regulating the downstream oil sector, was unable to provide any clarification for the ongoing price escalation.

Abuja Grapples with Severe Petrol Scarcity

In Enugu State, petrol was retailed between N625 and N630 per litre at stations belonging to independent marketers. However, major marketers such as Total, North West, Pinnacle Oil, and NNPCL stations continued selling petrol at N620 per litre.

In Niger State, fuel stations operated within the price range of N619 to N625 per litre, while in Kano, the product was being sold between N640 and N660 per litre.

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