By Uthman Salami
The Federal Government of Nigeria has vouched to tackle the increasing prices of Petroleum Motor Spirit and cooking gas in the country.
The government further dispelled reports of a planned hike in fuel prices.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Farouk Ahmed made this position known yesterday in Abuja.
He also reassured that there was no plan to increase the official price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) as speculated in some quarters.
Ahmed said this when he fielded questions from State House Correspondents, after he, alongside Gbenga Komolafe, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), was officially presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.
As a result of gnawing effect of cooking gas, the federal government also promised to do something drastic concerning the rising cost of cooking gas to alleviate the pains of Nigerians, especially now that the yuletide season approaches.
Recall that Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, presented the two Chief Executive Officers to the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
Ahmed noted that the marginal queues being witnessed at filling stations in Abuja and some parts of Nigeria had nothing to do with any supposed plan by the government to hike PMS prices.
He said, “Basically, what happened is that some of the depot owners selling Premium Motor Spirit above the official ex-depot price of N148 are selling at N156 or N157.
“The reason is that they’re paying for their logistics like shipping and Port charges and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) charges in US dollars and they’ve to go to the parallel market to source for the dollars.
“The differential between the official exchange rate and the parallel market is their reason for adding between N9 and N10.
“But we had a meeting on Tuesday, November 9, and the heads of the Nigeria Ports Authority and NIMASA, as well as other stakeholders, were all there, and it was resolved that NNPC excess capacity vessels would have chattered to oil marketing companies and they would be charging in Naira.
“I believe with these, there’ll be no reason for the depot owners to increase their price beyond the official selling price of N148.”
While addressing the State House Correspondents, Sylva revealed that Buhari was happy with the level of implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.
“He charged us to ensure that we use our best experience to ensure that the industry is on track.
“Luckily for us, we’ve very experienced people on the saddle, both in the authority and the commission, and the President asked us to go ahead and do what’s best in the interest of Nigeria at all times.”
Speaking on the recent increase in the price of cooking gas in the nation, Sylva said, “the President is worried over the situation just like all other Nigerians.”