Abdu Misau Abba, Zonal Operations Controller in charge of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Abuja Zone said some petroleum retailers are thwarting Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC’s) attempts to make petrol available at a fair price.

His remarks came at the scene of the shut-down of an NNPC retail station in Wuse II, Abuja, operated by Iluobe Petroleum Limited.

DPR  said it was sealing off the station for the fourth time in two months for underselling petrol to car-users. He called on NNPC to deter retailers from their dishonest practice.

The surge in the price of crude oil, which now stands at $73 per barrel, will continue to push the landing cost of petrol into the country upward.

 As at January 2018, analysts put the estimated cost of imported petrol at N175 to N180 per liter. Still, the government has maintained the price of petrol at N145 per liter.

Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum, said the corporation was losing N1.4 trillion to fuel importation.

He described the loss as under recovered funds. The margin of profit for the marketers is squeezed out by the N30 gap between the price of imported fuel and retailed fuel.

Marketers are incentivized by the low pricing regime to either hoard or smuggle, in order to wring out some profit.

Marketers are also selling the product above the regulated price in most parts of the country, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In its PMS Price Watch for March for 2018, NBS said only motorists in Abuja bought petrol, at the approved price of N145 per liter in March.

In the report posted on its website, the Bureau added that Kaduna and Bauchi were other states that recorded lowest average price for petrol during the period as residents bought the product at N147.29 and N145.57, respectively.

The report, however, noted that states with the highest average price of petrol were Taraba, N184.38; Jigawa, N180.93 and Ekiti, N173.89.

NBS said in the report that the average price paid by consumers for petrol increased by 9.4 percent year-on-year and -5.3 percent month-on-month from N172.5 in February to N163.4 in March.

Similarly, the bureau said that its Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) Price Watch for March revealed that the average price paid by consumers for the product otherwise known as diesel, decreased by 1.65 percent month-on-month.

It stated that the price paid for the product also decreased by 12.00 percent year-on-year from N209.89 in February to N206.41 in March.

The report noted that states with the highest average price of diesel were Taraba, N254.29; Sokoto, N249.29 and Kebbi, N230.83.

States with the lowest average price for the product during the period, according to the report, were Abia, N185.83; Bayelsa, N187.50, and Delta, N189.5

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