The Federal Government yesterday insisted that the cap for a litre of petrol remains N145, despite the recent increase in the bridging allowance from N6.20 to N7.20 for transporters.
The government explained that the additional N1 per litre was as a result of savings made from Lightering expenses, which is the cost incurred from ship to ship operation.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Victor Shidok told journalists at a briefing in Abuja that the amount was added to bridging allowance following complaints by the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO).
According to Authority, the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), Mr. Bobboi Ahmed and the Senior Technical Adviser (Downstream and Infrastructure) to the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Brenda Ataga, Shidok who was represented by the General Manager, Operations and Corporate Services, Olasupo Agbaje, said there is no plan by the government to increase the pump price of fuel.
He explained that the minister had recently setup a committee comprising of downstream players following threats to seamless supply and distribution of products nationwide.
According to him, “In the process of its intervention, the Committee identified a possible savings of N1/litre on the existing Lightering Expenses on the pricing template. This was achieved by a downward review of the chartering rate in the Lightering Expenses cost component.
“This is made possible by virtue of the PPPRA mandate which is amongst others, constantly review all indices relevant to petroleum products pricing policy. In fulfillment of this mandate, the agency regularly undertakes a review and assessment of all cost components on the pricing template to ensure conformity with market realities.
“In view of the complaints by the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) on the inadequacy of the Bridging Fund on the pricing template which stood at N6.20 and the threat this posed to uninterrupted movement of petroleum products nationwide, the committee recommended that the savings of N1/litre from the Lightering Expenses be added to the Bridging Fund to address the concerns on the transporters”, he stated.
Shidok stressed that as “the agency of government responsible for petroleum products price adjustment, we wish to categorically state that the price cap for PMS (premium motor spirit) remains N145/litre, and that the additional N1/litre transporters bridging rate shall not in any way translate to an upward review of PMS pump price”.
In his remarks, PEF Executive Secretary, Bobboi Ahmed said the new freight rates have been adjusted with effect from April 3, when the new bridging rate was approved.
He admitted that though PEF was owing transporters for bridging products, he added that PEF was also owed by marketers.
“On the backlog of marketers claims, yes, it is true we are owing marketers, but it is also true that marketers are owing PEF. It is the money that marketers that import products pay to PEF that it uses to offset the marketers for transportation claims”.
He said there is an effort by the government to ensure that importers pay to PEF what they owe to ensure that transporters are paid.
On her part, Ataga assured Nigerians that government do not plan to increase the price of petrol but is looking at ways to ensure efficiency in the system that would lead to lower price for petroleum products.