The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, may go down this week at filling stations operated by independent marketers, according to oil dealers.
They attributed the expected price reduction to the massive imports of PMS by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), the sole importer of the commodity.
The oil dealers explained that the recent hike in petrol prices at retail outlets operated by independent marketers was caused by the short supply of the product, which led to acts of profiteering by both depot owners and filling stations.
However, they confirmed that several cargoes imported by NNPC had arrived in Nigeria, and some of them were currently discharging at the ports.
“Once the products start hitting filling stations, fuel price will reduce, because the recent high cost was due to supply drop,” said Chief Ukadike Chinedu, the National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
On Thursday, oil marketers blamed the emergence of queues for petrol at filling stations in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states on the low supply of PMS by NNPC. But the national oil company refuted the position of marketers, as it argued that the queues in the affected areas were due to a “price war.”
According to NNPC, some motorists preferred to queue at filling stations that offered lower prices than others. It said that while NNPC retail was selling at N613/litre in Abuja, other marketers’ prices ranged from N625-N650/litre.
But based on the latest development concerning the imports by NNPC, operators in the sector stated that the queues would not only disappear but there would also be a reduction in price at independent filling stations.
Currently, petrol is mostly sold at between N580 and N613/litre at filling stations operated by NNPC. Most other marketers dispense the commodity at higher rates, with some selling PMS for as high as N670/litre.
“The most important thing now is that cargoes carrying PMS ordered by NNPC have arrived, some of them have berthed and they are discharging. So the partial scarcity we are experiencing now will be gone,” Ukadike said.
He noted that the inflow of foreign exchange during the Yuletide would not necessarily impact petrol prices, rather the increased imports by NNPC should warrant a reduction in price. He said the large PMS imports were confirmed to marketers by NNPC.
On whether marketers had started receiving the products, Ukadike replied, “By Monday we will start receiving from Port Harcourt and Warri, based on my last discussion with the NNPC management.”
Another major marketer also confirmed the position of IPMAN, as he stated that “when you wet the market with products, there’ll be no room for profiteering.”
The oil dealers also highlighted some recent cyber incidents that have affected Nigeria and other African countries. For example, Anonymous Sudan, a hacktivist group, attempted to shut down MTN Nigeria’s network, to protest Nigeria’s stance on the coup in the Republic of Niger.
Also, the National Information Technology Development Agency in Nigeria issued a warning that it had detected hacking activities targeting government digital services.
The oil dealers urged the government and the public to adopt proactive and comprehensive security measures to protect their data and systems from cyberattacks. They also advised consumers to be vigilant and report any cases of overpricing or under-dispensing of petrol at filling stations.