After a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, said the government has no plans to increase the price of petrol.
Kachikwu’s statement comes a day after former Group Managing Directors, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) advised the government to increase the price.
The former state oil chiefs argued that the current price cap of N145 per litre of petrol was “not congruent with the liberalization policy.”
The removal of the cap under a liberalised market environment would allow marketers of petroleum products to sell at a comfortable price based on factors such as the exchange rate and international crude price. With the Naira exchange rate going down by over 50 per cent to about N412 since the current petrol price was fixed, approving the recommendation would have meant Nigerians pay more for petrol.
While addressing journalists at the State House after meeting the President, Kachikwu indicated the government would not heed his predecessor’s advice.
The minister, who handed over as GMD of the NNPC to the current incumbent, Maikanti Baru, said the government had no plans to increase the price.
“Have you seen any memo to that effect?” he responded when pressed on the matter by journalists. The minister was accompanied to the meeting with the president by Baru who also said the government has no plan to increase the price of petrol.
“There is nothing like that,” he said.
Both men referred journalists to the Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), which had also rejected the advice to increase fuel price.
While stating the government’s response, the acting Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Sotonye Iyoyo, said the proposal was the personal opinion of the former state oil chiefs.
“If it was a recommendation, that is what it is – a personal opinion. I’m not aware government is planning any fuel price increase. We are in a liberalised market already,” the acting Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Sotonye Iyoyo, said.
Meanwhile, fuel queues returned to major cities across the country yesterday with motorists in parts of Abuja and Lagos spending up to an hour on the line before they could buy petrol.