The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Monday defended the recent N4 increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit at its filling stations across the country despite the statement made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that the hike was wrong.
Kachikwu had on Saturday stated that he was unaware of the increase in the pump price of petrol at the NNPC filling stations, telling journalists that the development was wrong as there were processes to be followed before raising fuel price.
“First, I am not aware that the NNPC has increased the price. I need to look into that. It is a bit of surprise for me, because there are processes in doing this; if they have done that, it means they are doing it wrongly,” the minister had said.
Filling stations run by the national oil firm had been selling fuel at N141 per litre, but last week Thursday, they increased the price of the commodity by N4 to the government approved benchmark of N145.
In reaction to the price increase at its filling stations, the management of the corporation in several Twitter messages on Monday stated that it was not empowered statutorily to tinker with the pricing template of petroleum products.
It insisted that it had not gone beyond the N145 per litre price margin that was approved by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
“The price adjustment in the NNPC downstream facilities from N141 to N145/litre is still within the price band of N135 to N145/litre approved by the PPPRA,” it stated.
Our correspondent observed that the major filling stations of the oil firm continued to dispense the PMS at N145 per litre on Monday despite the minister’s statement that it was wrong for it to sell at that price.