Major oil marketers in the country have said with the full deregulation of the Nigeria oil sector and subsequent increase in price of ex-depot of the Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), there will be strong competition in the sector.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had increased the petrol price to N147.67 per litre from N 138.62, filling stations across the country had adjusted their pump prices on Thursday to between N158 and N162 per litre of petrol.
The ex -depot price is the price at which the product is sold to marketers at the depots.
Remeber that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said on Thursday that the government had stopped fixing prices for petrol, adding that market forces and crude oil price would continue to determine the cost of PMS.
It is on record that petrol prices have been increased for three straight months, rising from N121.50 –N123.50 per litre in June to N140. 80 – N143. 80 in July, N148 -N150 in August and N158- N162 in September.
It will also be recalled that the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Tunji Oyebanji, said on Friday that consistent with global best practices, the association would not dictate prices to its members as this would be anti-competition in a fully deregulated market.
He said, “We all must remember the country is broke and can no longer afford subsidy. There is no provision for it in the budget. “With this, the incentive for smuggling will be reduced. More funds will be available to the government for investment in infrastructure, roads, health, education and power.”
According to Oyebanji, deregulation means that prices will go up and down.
He said , “ They went down in April . Now they will go up as we are entering the European winter season and demand for refined crude goes up .
“Already, there are indications of more investments in local refining in Nigeria which will moderate the cost .
“Fierce competition will also moderate the price . As you can see, not everyone is selling at the same price. So, as things stand, we are into full deregulation.”
The MOMAN boss added, “Unfortunately , this is coming at the time when most of our citizens are struggling with difficulties created within the context of the post -COVID – 19 economy.”
He, however, said Nigeria had been presented with a historic opportunity to get it right this time as a country to rebuild the economy for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Many Nigerians and groups, including the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, have expressed opposition to the hike in petrol prices this week , calling on the government to reverse it .
But the Federal Government said on Thursday that it lacked funds to subsidise the cost of petrol , adding that it would “ play its traditional role of protecting consumers from exploitation by ensuring that marketers do not profiteer at the expense of ordinary Nigerians and consumers of the product .”