Nigeria's federal government, through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has increased the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly referred to as petrol. The retail price for a liter of petrol will be between N209.61 and N212.61, the PPRA announced late Thursday.
The price adjustment from N170 to above N200 arrives 11 days after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which regulates the oil sector in Nigeria and which is the sole importer of refined crude, promised that it has no plans to increase the pump price of petrol for the month of March.
"The corporation is not contemplating any raise in the price of petrol in March in order not to jeopardize ongoing engagements with organized labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship," the NNPC said in a statement signed by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Kennie Obateru.
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The NNPC has also insisted that the price of petrol has not been adjusted upwards.
Ending the subsidy regimeThe President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has repeatedly announced that it has no money to continue paying for subsidies on petrol, adding that the petroleum sector has now been deregulated, with pump prices set to be determined by market forces of demand and supply periodically.
There is always the possibility that the pump price of the product would be adjusted upwards as the price of crude oil in the international market rebounds.
Brent crude now sells for around $70 a barrel, from a peak pandemic low of around $20 a barrel.
Petrol dispensing stations across Nigeria have been hoarding the product in anticipation of the latest increase, causing an artificial scarcity.
All of Nigeria's refineries are near-comatose, functioning at a fraction of their installed capacities, meaning that Africa's number one oil producer has to export crude oil and import the finished product for the local market.
The recent increase will lead to even more inflation and economic hardship for Nigerians, in an economy where prices of foodstuff, goods and services have been spiralling out of control every other day.