28 September 2013, Abuja – Against the grain of public perception that once prices of products go up, they never come down, the pump price of premium motor spirit, PMS, popularly known as petrol, has not only crashed in some petrol filling stations in Abuja, it has gone below the official amount fixed government.
In some of the stations, petrol now goes for N95 per litre instead of the office price of N97 fixed by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, in January 2012.
The price had been raised from N67 to N140 on January, 2012, a move which took Nigerians unawares, sparking widespread outrage.
When government would not bow to demands from labour and civil society organisations, there was a mass action described by some as the Nigerian Spring after the revolt going on at the time in some Arab nations.
The “Nigerian Spring” grounded business and government activities around the country for about two weeks before government reluctantly reduced the pump price from N140 to the current N97.
Although some economists say the price could drop further even to N50, the government had been saying it still needed to rise to encourage private investors whose investment in the building of refineries would bring about the desired reduction.
But THISDAY’s investigation show that some petrol stations such as Ismah Investment Ltd. in Kwali and Planet in Bako town close to Gwagwalada on the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have reduced their pump price by N2 to N95 per litre.
According to an official of Planet Petroleum who said he was running the business jointly with his brother but preferred not to be named, they fixed that price based on what they bought from marketers in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
He said they first sold for N96 when they procured the product at a slightly higher rate. However, when the depot price dropped, they had to cut theirs to N95 for which it had been selling for the past two months, he told THISDAY.
“Here we check the prevailing market prices to fix our own,” he said. “Even if it moves down by just N1, we will adjust our price accordingly.”
He noted that even the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, the marketing arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, still sold for N97. The marketer however said DPK or kerosene was not affected by the price slash because it didn’t make economic sense after buying a litre for N120 in Warri and spending N7 on transportation.
At Ismah filling station, an official, Jubril Iliyasu,said their decision to sell a litre of PMS at N95 was informed by a desire not to exploit the buyers.
– This Day