Fuel scarcity: FG blames cross-border smugglers
The Nigerian Government disclosed that cross-border smugglers are to blame for the ongoing fuel scarcity stating they divert PMS meant for the Nigerian market.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) on Friday.
They reassured that there is enough PMS in Nigeria at over 1.6 billion litres as of 26th January 2023.
Diversion: The NMDPRA said smugglers are diverting PMS meant for the Nigerian market which contributes to scarcity, they said:
- ” The current distribution hitch is heightened by activities of cross-border smugglers, who divert PMS meant for the Nigerian market to neighbouring countries where PMS prices are significantly higher than Nigeria’s regulated price.
They added engagement has started with the Nigerian Customs Service to address the issues.
Sufficiency: The energy regulator also noted that Nigeria has enough PMS capacity to supply demand presently, saying:
- “The NMDPRA wishes to reassure all Nigerians that there is PMS sufficiency of over 1.6 billion litres as of 26th January 2023 both on land and marine”
Arbitrage: They also blamed the price arbitrage between Nigeria and West African countries on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they said:
- ” The Price arbitrage between Nigeria and neighbouring countries has continued to grow due to inflation and the regional impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the global energy value chain including international freight rates and coastal vessels charter rates.”
The agency said it is working with NNPC to address certain measures including automation of products sales interface, rehabilitation of critical fuel distribution road network and modest adjustment in the cost of product transportation to cater for the impact of high diesel prices on transporters.
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The Federal Government denied authorizing any increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol, despite the hike in the cost of the commodity across the country.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said that President Muhammadu Buhari had not approved any price increase for petrol.
- Sylva was quoted as saying, “President Muhammadu Buhari has not approved any increase in the price of PMS or any other petroleum product for that matter. There is no reason for President Muhammadu Buhari to renege on his earlier promise not to approve any increase in the price of PMS at this time.
- “Mr President is sensitive to the plight of the ordinary Nigerian and has said repeatedly that he understands the challenges of the ordinary Nigerian and would not want to cause untold hardship for the electorate.
- “Government will not approve any increase of PMS secretly without due consultations with the relevant stakeholders. The President has not directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority or any agency for that matter to increase the price of fuel. This is not the time for any increase in the pump price of PMS.’’