The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has claimed that with time, the current high pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS) popularly known as fuel will come down.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, who gave the assurance on Thursday during an interview on Arise News TV, said that competition among major players in the oil sector would force down the price of fuel as against the current price hike that had caused panic and controversy in the country.
Reporters had reported that queues returned to fuel stations across Nigeria after President Bola Tinubu announced at his inaugural speech that “fuel subsidy is gone” which was immediately followed by sudden increase in the petrol pump price.
The NNPCL adjusted its petrol pump price to between N488 and N557 across all the 36 states of the federation and FCT, Abuja on Wednesday, saying that it had adjusted the fuel pump price to reflect the market realities.
Also, across Nigeria, private filling stations are currently selling fuel between 600 and N800 per litre, while talks between the Nigerian Government and the organised labour over the fuel subsidy removal ended in a deadlock on Wednesday following the two parties’ failure to reach a consensus.
During the Arise News interview, Kyari said that the removal of subsidy would allow new entrants into the oil market, which according to him, would promote competition and eliminate monopoly.
The NNPCL boss claimed that the move would ensure healthy competition which would ultimately lead to a downward review of pump prices of petroleum products across the country.
According to him, “The beauty of this (subsidy removal) is that there will be new entrants (into the market) because oil marketing companies’ reluctance to come into the market all along is the very fact of the subsidy regime that is in place.
“And that subsidy regime doesn’t have a guarantee of repayment back to those who provide the product at subsidised price and now that the market is being regulated, oil marketing companies can actually import product or even if it is produced locally, they can buy and take it into the market and sell it at its retail price.
“Therefore, you will see competition, even with NNPC. And by the way, by law, NNPC cannot do more than 30 per cent of the market going forward. As soon as the market stabilises, oil marketing companies are able to come in.
“Competition will definitely come in and the market will regulate the prices itself. Therefore, this is just an instantaneous price and within a week or two, you will continue to see different prices because of different approaches from major players, companies have different approaches to it and competition will guide that. Ultimately, you’d see changes downwards and it is very likely because efficiency will come in.
“As soon as competition comes in, people will become more efficient in their depots, in managing their trucks and in managing their fuel stations so that people can come to their stations. And it is showing already, right now, you will see motorists going to stations where they can have price differences, so this will regulate the market and on its own, the price will come down naturally and I don’t see any doubt about this.”
Speaking on why fuel stations hiked their pump price when they still had old stock of already subsidised products, Kyari said, “This is the reality of the market. It applies to every commodity and not just petroleum.
“It could have been the other way round, prices could have collapsed downwards and those holding the old stock will have to sell at lower prices to arrive at market condition.
“It is not something serious or strange, this is a stock management issue and it is very typical, no one can do anything different about this.
“The prices we are seeing today at our station are the current prices of the commodity. This means that prices in the market can go down at any time and of course, the market will adjust itself.”