President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure the pump price of fuel is not increased above N145 per litre.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed this to State House correspondents after observing Jumaat service with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday.
According to him, any marketer found hoarding fuel or selling above the official price of N145 per litre will be punished.
He said: “I’m happy to report that we have tamed the monster that reared its head as a result of the rumoured price increase about three weeks ago.
“Unfortunately, that rumour instigated a lot of marketers to become very greedy, and they decided that their fellow citizens should not enjoy the Christmas holiday and New Year with ease, and decided to profiteer by hoarding and diversion of products.
“At the beginning, I did address the press, telling the world that we have sufficient products that will last us 30 days through the New Year into January.
“But because the marketers wanted to inflict harm and pains on fellow citizens, they decided to hoard products, divert them and in some cases even smuggle products out of the country.
“This has been tamed by the actions we took, and I personally led the war around Abuja and other teams led the war in Lagos and other parts of the country.
“As of this morning, I have gone round the Abuja metropolis and I have seen that the queues have reduced significantly to almost normal level, and few motorists that I heard speaking on morning programmes concerning what I have seen said they have not spent up to 30 minutes to fuel their cars.
“So the monster has been tamed in Lagos. The situation has been brought into normalcy as far as two days ago, and we are also aiming the same thing in all other cities.
“I promise that we have sufficient products that will last us for the next 30 days, and we keep bringing in 50 per cent over and above our normal consumption to the country.
“And vessels have been lined up. At the moment, I have eight vessels discharging products at various ports around the country.
“So, Nigerians should enjoy the new year.
Baru said the President’s directive and guidance had been helpful in tackling the problem as they had helped to restore normalcy to a large extent.
He advised marketers who had hidden products in odd locations to bring them out and sell to the public at N145 per litre, maximum.
“If NNPC sold it to you at N133.28, you have sufficient margin within that ambit to be able to supply and sell to the public at maximum N145 per litre,” he said.
“NNPC is selling at N143 per litre, so you should be able to sell at N145 per litre. If you go above that, the regulator, DPR and PPPRA, with the support of law enforcement agencies, particularly the Civil Defence, will make sure that the products are confiscated and given free to the public.
“This is the directive from Mr. President that we are working on and is being executed to the letter.
“Bring these products out and sell. We don’t have any shortage and we are making massive loadings.
“Normally, we should be able to have 850 trucks to satisfy national consumption, but as at yesterday, we loaded 1,750 trucks to go round the country. So we will continue massive loading until we reach the former position whereby all the stations will have products and truck siding.”
On the legal actions to be taken against errant marketers, he said: “We have met with the law enforcement agencies, particularly the Civil Defence who have helped us to mop up the people selling in Jerry cans and have also helped us to mop out some of the cars that have extra tanks in Abuja and environs and around the country.
“The legal action is to apprehend the culprits first and then take them to the courts within the time limit that is speculated.”
Asked about subsidy, he said: “Do you want me to remove subsidy? What I am saying is that the landing cost as should be sold in the pump without under-recovery should be N171.40.
“However, Mr. President has directed that we should maintain all the parameters to ensure that it is sold at N145 per litre. And that is why we are selling at depot at N133.28.”