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Don’t Hike Fuel Price, PDP Warns FG

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday told the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government to perish the thoughts of hiking the price of petrol from the already exorbitant N145 per litre, because such “will not only be criminal but inhuman and completely unacceptable.”

On the same day, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, promised that the pump price of petrol across Nigeria would remain unchanged at N145 per litre, adding that there was an existing presidential directive that it must remain at that rate.

The opposition PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged that the federal government had been lying to Nigerians on oil-related issues “while using the NNPC to bandy figures with intentions to arrive at APC’s predetermined agenda to increase the price of fuel.”

It further stated that the lingering fuel crisis and its attendant black-market price were only a ploy by the APC to justify their intended hike of petroleum prices.

“The APC Government has completely become numbed to the sufferings of Nigerians to the extent that it no longer cares in imposing more hardship on our people. Instead of putting more burdens on the people, the APC Government should come out clear on the sleazes in the oil sector under its watch, particularly the shady oil subsidy payouts and illegal lifting of N1.1 trillion worth of crude using unregistered companies.

“Any increase in fuel pump price would be an indirect tax on Nigerians to fund APC interests and considering the pains Nigerians have suffered under this inept and unfeeling Government, this intended hike will be callous,” it said.

The party recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had in December informed Nigerians that the NNPC had been paying subsidy on fuel.

The PDP said the federal government had refused to tell Nigerians who the beneficiaries were, the amount involved and who authorised the payment, because of the inherent corruption in the deal.

“It is now clear to all that this APC- controlled government will never act in the interest of Nigerians. All the actions and policies of APC, in their close to three years in office, have been targeted against Nigerians and there are no signals that they will change.

“We therefore urge Nigerians to reject this plot to raise the prices of petroleum products even as they gear towards using the next election to end the misrule of the APC, ” the PDP said

Kachikwu: We Have a Presidential Directive to Keep Petrol Price at N145 Per Litre

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has said the pump price of petrol across Nigeria would remain unchanged at N145 per litre, adding that there was an existing presidential directive that it must remain at that rate.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja, Kachikwu, also disclosed that there would be a massive clampdown of petrol stations across the country that have continued to sell petrol above the government controlled price.

He added that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), an agency responsible for review of products pricing templates, would review its pricing template on petrol to ensure that pump price at N145 per litre is sustained using the necessary means.

“There are social media commentaries implying that when we met with the committee set up by the Senate President to review the causative factors of the fuel scarcity and find solutions, there was a statement credited to me that said that price might be increased to N180. No such statement was made; no such plan is intended,” said Kachikwu.

He then added: “I needed to clarify this, because sometimes, some of these rumour mongering all add to the difficulties NNPC had in terms of being able to control price speculation. The president mandate on this issue is very specific: we are not increasing price from N145.”

The minister explained that the essence of the meeting (Senate) was, “to find mechanisms to ensure that fuel queues do not come back to Nigeria; that there is a wetting of all the stations so that product is available at every time for Nigerians; that we deal with the problem of private marketers that had pulled out from participation, so that they can participate effectively in the supply of petroleum products in the country, all within the parameters of N145 per litre pump price.”

He stated that being speculative about the development was hurting Nigerians whom he said had, “already gone through a very difficult Christmas period,” adding, “We are working night and day to try and find solutions.”

“It is not a political issue; people should step out of that goal post. We want to provide succour to Nigerians, we want to provide product at N145, that is the presidential mandate; that is the Federal Executive Council mandate; nobody is having a deliberation on that,” he said.

Speaking on the sale of petrol above N145 per litre cities apart from Lagos and Abuja, the minister said: “I think it is very important to make this go universally clear; we are actually looking at steps for those who have breached these processes, what we can do to penalise them and also set very stiff penalties for those who go to sell above N145.”

“Going forward, after the recommendations, there would be very massive enforcement; very firm position on this issue; very firm tracking of product in this country. Nobody deserves this sort of up and down in terms of product supply in this country.

“I want to make that very clear, there is no discussed intended price increase issue; price is N145 per litre at the pump price; it remains that; nothing has changed; there is no mandate to increase that. But we are working very hard, to see that, working with those price parameters, we can provide Nigerians with refined petroleum products all the time, avoid fuel queues and ensure that our business partners in the private sector participate actively.”

He said no petrol station was allowed to sell petrol above the N135 to N145 per litre band the government approved, and that the law will be applied against marketers that have disregarded this.

On the review of the pricing template by the PPPRA to accommodate the sale of petrol at N145, Kachikwu, said: “PPPRA regulates the template and helps us monitor importation into the country so that we are sure of the volumes that come into the country and all that. The template has always been an issue, because as prices change in the international market, some of these templates become questionable.

“There are two lines over this template – there is the actual cost of landing the product on the template and there are other ancillary charges, dealing with logistics, profit margins for the operators and all that, which are the below the line elements.

“As part of this committee’s work, we are also reviewing that template to see whether there are things we need to do, all to help us ensure that we can accommodate sales at the N145 per litre window. That is also going to be looked at. PPPRA is working on that and it is heading a special committee on it.”



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