The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has said it can no longer sustain the sale of petrol at N145 per litre.
The Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division at the NNPC, Mele Kyari, made the disclosure on Monday in Lagos at the 2016 Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Conference.
Kyari was however quick to add that the present administration would not announce another increase in the petrol pump price, because Nigerians would not accept it.
“We have a very difficult business environment. It is impossible today to import products at the current market price, at current fixed foreign exchange rate.
There is no way today you can take products to retailers and sell at N145. It is not possible.
If that is true and I believe that it is, because we all go to the market, why can’t we sell above N145? That is where legislation should come in.
I also know today that it is impossible for this government to announce tomorrow that petrol is about N150.
This government cannot sustain it. That is the truth. The people will not accept that figure. That is why suppliers are not importing. Today, we are in subsidy regime, absolutely.
There is no way you bring product today and sell at N145 and get back your money and make profit. That is not possible. You can see some marketers saying that fuel is N138. It is because they did not import. Somebody has taken the heat off the price.
Because we (NNPC) have taken the heat and you buy from us, you can afford to go to the market and then put a ridiculous price. It is not possible because they did not import it,” he said.
Reacting to the statement on Tuesday, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Garba Deen Muhammad, has said that the price of the product remains N145 per litre.
Muhammad, while briefing newsmen on Tuesday, said the report was simply not true and was taken out of context.
“Regardless of what was said, the bottom line is that there is absolutely no plan whatsoever that government will increase pump price of petrol.
If there is going to be anything like that, the agency for fixing pump price of petrol will definitely sensitise Nigerians and give reasons why.
For this moment, there is absolutely no plan and no need to do that because we have more than enough supply, very robust stock and long term procurement contract with our suppliers.
We have enough supply to last us throughout the ember months and beyond.
So, the reported statement was made within the context of technical explanation not within the context of downstream operations,”Muhammad said.
On the issue of marketers’ complaint that the window given to them for foreign exchange was not enough, Muhammad said their complaints had been addressed adequately.
“A new window has been opened for them and in fact what is happening now is that we are waiting for them to deliver.
A new window to make forex available for their needs has been opened and they are satisfied with it and we are waiting for them to deliver.
What we have now is a glut. We have people who have already imported and they are looking for people to buy their products.
We have a glut in the market, you can testify if you go around, there is not even a hint of scarcity so what generated or necessitated the report,” he said.
Muhammad said the current availability of PMS was as a result of price modulation and because prices were being determined by market forces.
“Right now if you go to filling stations you find that people sell at 145 and some even at 143. It is not really magic but diligent pursuit of common sense and that is what has been responsible for the stability we have achieved and we intend to maintain the momentum,” he said.
On the allegation that the NNPC was still subsidising fuel, he said “no, there is no subsidy.’’
Responding to the question that some filling stations were already recording long queues, Muhammad said “that must have been associated with the reports that you people carried.
“It was interpreted outside the context it was meant but as you have seen, and from the reality on ground, there is absolutely no plan to increase fuel price, there is no shortage and there is no possibility of shortage in the nearest future. I’m telling Nigerians to relax, drive with care, enjoy their vehicles, enjoy their movement and travels because no plan to increase fuel price,” he said.
He further said there had been no report that fuel was sold above N145 outside Abuja and Lagos as was the case before.
“The refineries have been back but you know it has been on and off but they are back. Port Harcourt has been producing as well as Kaduna. You know about the plans to collocate some refineries, bring in new ones and upgrade these ones so by the time all these are done by probably the end of 2018, refineries will run at optimum capacity,’’ Muhammad added.