THE federal government has blamed petroleum marketers for the latest increase in the pump price of petrol; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, gave the blame on Monday, stressing that government was still paying subsidy on imported petrol.
“I can tell you authoritatively, we have not deregulated. The government is still subsidizing petrol prices. If there are increases in price, it is not from the government,” he told journalists at a stakeholders’ consultation forum on regulations organised by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA) in Abuja.
He said increased prices implemented in the last two weeks were “probably from the marketers”.
“I will talk to the Authority to ensure that they actually regulate the price. This is not from the government, we have not deregulated,” Mr Sylva said, who did not say why the government does not enforce its price.
Despite the increase in the price of petrol, scarcity has persisted defying government’s assurances that the problem would be resolved.
Marketers blame high cost of buying petrol at the depots and the high cost of diesel to truck them as the major factors responsible for the scarcity. The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said its members could not sell at the government-regulated price given increased costs.
In July, Abuja marketers increased the pump price of petrol with several stations selling the product above N165 a litre.
He said fuel queues in Abuja were gradually disappearing — the same claim the government has made for months without a permanent solution.
“The queues in Abuja are going but I don’t know whether you are seeing more queues but a lot is being done,” Sylva said.
“I noticed that the queues are already disappearing. There are some issues, I believe that the authority chief executive of NMDPRA will be in a better position to explain some of the problems. But a lot is going on to ensure that the queues end. As of yesterday, I noticed that the queues in Abuja are easing off,” he added.