The Nigeria Labour Congress recently declared that the Federal Government should not test its (NLC’s) resolve by raising the price of the PMS, popularly known as petrol.
The labour union had said it would not accept another round of increase in the price of petrol.
But when asked if there was any plan to increase petrol price on the ground that the NNPC had been incurring losses on the commodity, the corporation’s Group General Manager for Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, dismissed the claims of price hike.
He also told our correspondent that the national oil firm had never complained about the financial burden it shouldered in ensuring that the country remained wet with products.
Ughamadu said, “The government and the NNPC had denied rumours of petrol price increase on several occasions. There is nothing of such for now. And assuming we are incurring losses, we have not complained. We have various roles to play in the country as supplier of last resort even when others are not supplying.
“We are not complaining; and we will continue to ensure that our refineries produce at optimum capacity and support production with imports when necessary. There is no directive from the Federal Government to increase petrol price at the moment.”
When asked if other oil marketers were still able to access the United States dollars at subsidised rates for the importation of fuel, Ughamadu replied, “That window is still open with the NNPC. We made a plea some months ago and the Central Bank of Nigeria granted it.”
He said some marketers were even reducing petrol prices, adding, “There is glut in the market, so there is no way anybody will want to think of increasing prices now. The NNPC is over-importing.”
Asked when marketers would start importing petrol as they used to, he said, “When access to foreign exchange improves and when government pays us our money.”
An official of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity that “the current situation does not warrant any price increase and government is not speaking to anybody; and marketers are not thinking of any price increase right now.”
The Federal Government on May 11, 2016 announced a new price band of N135 to N145 per litre for petrol from N86.5 in what was described as a partial deregulation of the downstream sector, signalling the end of fuel subsidy.
The NLC had embarked on strike days after the petrol price hike to protest against it but the government did not budge on its decision.