President Bola Tinubu said yesterday that the federal government would take measures to maintain the current pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol, in the country without a reversal of its policy on subsidy removal.
He also said the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to shut down the economy over rumoured plan to further increase fuel price was premature, stressing that it was incumbent on all stakeholders to maintain their peace.
The President assured that there would be no further increase in the price of petrol in any part of the country.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC Limited, said late last night it had no plan to raise the pump price per litre of petrol.
This came as the Kenyan government, which also removed fuel subsidy at a time Nigeria did same, reintroduced fuel subsidy to curb soaring prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel in the country, though for 30 days.
Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed these while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after meeting with President Bola Tinubu on the issue, especially following threats by Nigeria labour Congress, NLC, to go on strike without notice, if fuel price was again increased.
According to him, the official position is that there is no increase in prices at this time as “the president is convinced, based on information before him, that we can maintain current pricing without reversing our deregulation policy by swiftly cleaning up existing inefficiencies within the midstream and downstream petroleum sector to stabilise price.”
He said it was incumbent on all stakeholders to hold their peace and endeavour to do due dillegence to ascertain the true position of things.
Ngelale said the President was intent on maintaining competitive tension to ensure that no single individual or organization dominated the sector.
The presidential spokesman presented a chart to prove that the cost of petrol was still much more cheaper in Nigeria than in other West African countries.
He stated: “This morning (yesterday), I had the privilege of sitting down with His Excellency, President Bola Tinubu, as we discussed the current unfolding situation in the country as it relates to fuel supply and demand.
“The president wishes first to state that it is incumbent upon all stakeholders in the country to hold their peace.
“We have heard very recently from the organized labour movement in the country concerning their most recent threat.
“We believe that the threat was premature and that there is need on all sides to ensure that fact-finding and diligence is done on what the current state of the downstream and midstream petroleum industry is before any threats or conclusions are arrived at or issued.
“Secondly, Mr. President wishes to assure Nigerians, following the announcement by the NNPC limited just yesterday that there will be no increase in the pump price of petroleum motor spirit anywhere in the country.
“We repeat, the president affirms that there will be no increase in the pump price of premium motor spirit. We also wish to affirm that the president is determined to maintain competitive tension within all sub-sectors of the petroleum industry.
“He is determined to ensure that our policy drawn up as well as policy implemented follows the cue that there will be no single entity dominating the market.
“The market has been deregulated; it has been liberalized and we are moving forward in that direction without looking back.
“The president also wishes to affirm that there are currently inefficiencies within the midstream and downstream petroleum sub-sectors that once very swiftly addressed and cleaned up, will ensure that we can maintain prices where they are without having to resort to a reversal of this administration’s deregulation policy in the petroleum industry.
“I wish at this juncture to also provide a set of graphics which the president has authorized me to share with Nigerians that otherwise would be confidential. These are graphics supplied to Mr. president by NNPCL.
“In the graphic, what you will find is the present cost of refined premium motor spirit at the pump in each of the West African nations that are our neighbours and I’ll just name some for example, even as I know, you will be showing your audiences the graphics, which the president has graciously approved for public release today.
“In Senegal, the pump price today is N1,273 equivalent per litre; Guinea N1,075 per litre; Côte d’ Ivore N1,048 per litre equivalent; Mali N1,113 per litre; Central African Republic N1,414 per litre, while Nigeria is currently averaging between N568 and N630 per litre.
“We are currently the cheapest, most affordable purchasing state in the West African sub-region by some distance. There is no country that is below N700 per litre.
“So, this is the backdrop we have seen, that at the inception of our deregulation policy as of June 1 as Mr. President took office, we have seen PMS consumption in the country drop immediately from 67 million litres per day, down to 46 million litres. The impact is evident.
“What it also mean though, is that we are not at the end of the tunnel. There is still a bit of darkness to travel through to get towards light. And we are pleading with Nigerians to please be patient with us.
“As we promised from the beginning, we will be open with Nigerians, we will be transparent with them. And we are ready to show you exactly what it is that our nation is facing with respect to the illiquidity in the market in terms of foreign exchange, as a result of what is now known to have been a gross mismanagement of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over the course of several years preceding this time.”
No plan for fresh petrol price hike, says NNPC as queues resurface
Also late Monday night, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC Limited said it had no plan to raise the pump price per litre of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol.
NNPC Limited spokesman, Muhammad Garbadeen, said in the statement that the company had no intention to increase petrol price for the third consecutive time since the removal of petrol subsidy on May 29, 2023.
“Dear esteemed customers, we at NNPC Retail value your patronage, and we do not have the intention to increase our PMS pump prices as widely speculated.
“Please buy the best quality products at the most affordable prices at our NNPC Retail Stations nationwide,” Garbadeen said.
Kenya reinstates fuel subsidy for 30 days to curb soaring prices
Meanwhile, the Kenyan government has reintroduced fuel subsidy to curb soaring prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel in the country.
The development came after months of violent anti-government protests over the burden of high living costs, with inflation also now reducing from 7.9 per cent in June to 7.3 per cent last month