By Udeme Akpan
THE price of petrol, Tuesday, rose by 8.2 per cent as the price of Bonny Light, Nigeria’s premium oil grade, hits $59.46 per barrel in the international market.
A market survey by Vanguard, Tuesday, indicated that, the price of petrol, which previously sold at N162 per litre, has risen to N175 per litre in many private outlets, indicating an increase of 8.2 per cent.
Market watchers, who spoke to Vanguard, attributed the development to the rise of crude oil prices from an average price of $56 to over $60 per barrel in the past few days, meaning that refiners around the world have incurred additional cost in the process of procuring and refining the product.
According to them, the cost has been shifted to consumers in Nigeria, especially as the nation, currently import a bulk of its petroleum products from the international market.
A visit to some private depots in Lagos, and its environs showed that the landing cost of the product hovers at between N157 and N157.50 per litre, compared the previous rate of about N150 per litre.
For instance, Master Energy and Shorelink put their landing cost at N157 per litre, while others put theirs at between N157 and N158 per litre.
In a telephone interview with Vanguard, the National Operations Controller of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mike Osatuyi, said: “The rise in the price of crude oil is the major determinant of the changes in the market. We are still watching developments. But the situation remains unchanged in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC depots.”
However, the depot price of petrol remains unchanged at N148.70 per litre the NNPC outlets, meaning that the Federal Government, which did not provide for fuel subsidy in its 2021 budget, would continue to bear the burden through the Corporation.
Commenting on the development, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva admonished Nigerians to be ready to bear the pains of increased petrol pump price as crude oil price climbs above $60 per barrel.
Speaking at the official launch of Nigerian Upstream Cost Optimisation Program on Tuesday, Sylva said: “Since we are optimizing everything, NNPC needs to also think about the optimization of product cost because as we all know oil prices are where they are today, $60.
“As desirable as this is, this has serious consequences as well on product prices. So we want to take the pleasure and we should as a country be ready to take the pain. Today the NNPC is taking a big hit from this. We all know that there is no provision in the budget for subsidy.
“So, somewhere down the line, I believe that the NNPC cannot continue to take this blow. There is no way because there is no provision for it. As a country, let us take the benefits of the higher crude oil prices and I hope we will also be ready to take a little pain on the side of higher product prices.”