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Marketers refuse to obey N5 reduction in petrol price

Marketers refuse to obey N5 reduction in petrol priceOil marketers, on Monday, failed to adjust the pump prices of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) at their filling stations to reflect the N5 reduction announced by the Federal Government last week.

After meeting with officials of labour unions in Abuja last week, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, announced that all parties resolved that the price of petrol be reduced by N5 per litre with effect from December 14.

But filling stations visited by our correspondents in Lagos, Abuja, as well as parts of Niger and Nasarawa states on Monday were still selling the petrol at between N163 and N168 per litre.

The two filling stations right in front of the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Abuja – Conoil and Total – sold petrol to motorists at N166.5 and N168 per litre respectively.

Also, filling stations, such as Nipco, AA Rano and DanOil, within Abuja, Zuba and Madalla in Niger State, and Mararaba in Nasarawa State, dispensed their products at prices above N162 per litre on Monday.

However, at the few NNPC retail outlets in Abuja that dispensed the commodity at the new rate, motorists formed long queues in front of the stations in a bid to buy at the reduced price.

Top officials of the marketers’ associations who spoke with our correspondents on Tuesday said the price decrease had not been communicated to them.

“We have not got any document from anybody that can be relied on regarding the reduction of petrol price,” the National Operation Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Mike Osatuyi, said.

The Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, said the ex-depot price of the product would determine the price at which marketers would sell it at the filling stations.

“We cannot change the price based on newspaper pronouncements. When we see the documentation that will support that, we will begin to take action,” he added.

The President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Dr Billy Gillis-Harry, said the N5 reduction was not straightforward, adding that implementing it would further increase the losses being incurred by dealers due to the price fluctuations since March this year.

He said, “This reduction is not clear to us and how does it fit in a regulated market? This is why we’ve always asked the government to involve marketers when fixing prices.

“Everyone should be carried along. You cannot imagine the losses which marketers will incur as a result of this.”

The Federal Government removed petrol subsidy in March this year after reducing the pump price of petrol to N125 per litre from N145 on the back of the sharp drop in crude oil prices. The price reduction lasted till June.

Nigerians have seen increases in the pump prices of petrol four times in the past five months, rising from N121.50–N123.50 per litre in June to N140.80-N143.80 in July, N148-N150 in August, N158-N162 in September and N163-N170 in November.

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