There was disquiet yesterday over the hike in the price of petrol.
Rejecting the increase, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) accused depot owners of a breach of agreement by raising the price by N11 per litre at their facilities.
Following the increase, the depot price of the product has gone up from N148 per litre to N159.
The arbitrary hike represents 6.75 per cent in the price of the product at the depots.
Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) National Vice President Abubakar Maigandi confirmed to our correspondent in Abuja on the telephone that marketers were lifting the product at N159 from private depots in Calabar and Port Harcourt.
He said: “Our members are lifting the product at Calabar and Port Harcourt at N158 andN159 per litre.”
Maigandi said the development has aggravated the recent petrol scarcity in the country.
As The Nation monitored the sale of petrol in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from Monday to Wednesday, besides NNPC, which sold it for N162, other retail outlets sold the product for N165/litre.
The Federal Government regulated dealer price ranges from N162 to N165/ litre.
While most of the petrol stations were not opened to customers, black-marketers sold it at N300 per litre with 10 litre Jerry cans selling for N3,000 on Karu-Kurudu road.
A stable petrol market has been elusive since The Nation publication of possible fuel scarcity on November 1, 2021.
Maigandi had disclosed that private depots had raised the price from N148 per litre to N157 per litre.
But, a source in the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) said the hike in price at the private depot negated the agreement between the Federal Government and the stakeholders.
According to the source, the NNPC, Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) signed an agreement not to sell the PMS above N148/litre.
Describing the hike as sabotage of the government’s effort, the source said the NNPC has not increased the price.
He said that the Corporation has been distributing abundant petrol to the depots, adding that “it is callous for them to receive the product at the agreed price from NNPC and hoard it or hike its price.
The source stressed: “NNPC held a meeting with all the stakeholders, where DAPPMA (Depot And Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria) and MOMAN (Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria) agreed that depots will have to be selling at the normal price N148 or N149. So, as far as I know, that agreement is still valid.
“So, if some depots are selling above that price, then, they are breaching that agreement that DAPPMA and MOMAN signed. We signed an agreement that NNPC signed, DAPPMA signed and MOMAN signed.
“We agreed on NNPC, DAPPMA and MOMAN will do so that the pump price will stabilise and availability is also sufficient.
“Now, we have the product and we give it to the depots. We did not increase the price. But why they are selling it at a higher price, I don’t know.
“We signed an agreement and we have not increased any price for them. Why are they hiking price? Or if they collect it, why are they not selling it? Why should they just lock their retail outlets.”
The NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Malam Garba Deen Muhammad, said NNPC was yet to increase the depot price.
He also recalled that the NNPC signed a pact with MOMAN and DAPPMAN that they should not sell PMS above the official price.
Describing the hike as a breach of contract, if the depots were truly selling above the stipulated price, he maintained that NNPC does not regulate the depots.
His words: “NNPC has not increased price. I know there is an agreement that all the stakeholders signed, including MOMAN and DAPPMA. As far as NNPC is concerned that agreement is still binding on them (all the parties).
“So, if the DAPPMA or any depot is selling above the price that that agreement contains, that is a breach of contract. We are not in a place to impose sanction on anybody.”