Irked by the sudden increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from N145 to N160 per litre and above in the Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has vowed to shut down erring marketers.
Arising from a meeting with independent and major marketers in the state, on Tuesday, DPR's Head of Operations, Ibinabo Jack, warned that the abrupt increase in price was not justifiable, as it was not approved by any regulatory body.
Bayelsans woke up last week to see that the pump price of petrol had risen from between N142 and N145 to N160 per litre in most filling stations in the state, prompting outcry from motorists and residents.
But DPR held a meeting with the product marketers and select journalists, and urged them to immediately revert to the original price of N145 per litre or be sanctioned, as they have no reason to increase the price.
"I personally went round and discovered that all the filling stations were selling above the pump price. They were selling at the rate of N160 naira for PMS. We frown at that and condemn it," Ibinabo said.
"The sudden rise in pump price is not advised and not welcome by DPR. DPR has not noticed any form of price increase and there is no directive for fuel pump increase; the pump price still remains N145 per litre.
"From now, after this briefing with the marketers, the DPR will not hesitate to impose stringent penalties upon anyone found selling above the pump price. PMS at the depot as of the beginning of the week still remans N133, and so we are saying that marketers have no reason to say they have written to the authorities or that they were granted by someone to sell above the pump price approved by the Petroleum Products Regulatory Agency (PPRA)."
In there response, the Bayelsa state Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Erefemota Peters, said the increase was due to price increase at the depots.
He said marketers in Bayelsa had to source products from the Warri and Port Harcourt refineries at prices above N142 and considering the transport cost, there was no way the marketers in the state could sell at the government price.
Also speaking, Indutimi Komonibo, an independent marketer, urged the Federal Government to build a refinery in state, as the peculiar nature of state makes it difficult for petroleum marketers.