ABUJA —The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, blamed oil marketers in the country for the excruciating scarcity of kerosene and Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, also known as cooking gas and the high price of the commodities across the country.
The price of cooking gas had shot up from about N3,500 in most places before the Christmas holidays, to a minimum of N5,000 for a 12.5 kilogramme cylinder last week, while kerosene which went for as much as N250 per litre is now sold for a minimum of N500 per litre. Some retailers of LPG in Abuja, told Vanguard that though it was normal that during the yuletide period, the price of the commodity normally goes up a bit because of huge demand, they noted that the recent sharp rise in the price, from N3,500 to more than N5,000 was abnormal. According to one of the marketers, who simply gave his name as Chibuike, the increase in price during the Christmas season is normally between N100 and N300, and at most N500, but this current rise is unprecedented and “we seem not to know the reason for the sharp rise.” Another retailer, Hamza Shuaibu, said the product seem not to be available in most of the recognised depots in Abuja, making most of the retailers to obtain the product from black marketers and middlemen. For kerosene, most of the petrol stations visited in Abuja said they last sold the product sometime in June 2015 and had not seen the product since then. Oil marketers responsible for scarcity However, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in an interview with Vanguard, said the oil marketers were responsible for the scarcity and the hike in the prices of kerosene and cooking gas. He denied that the scarcity was a ploy by the NNPC to push for an increase in the prices of cooking gas, kerosene, petrol or any other petroleum product. Ughamadu said the NNPC had been consistent in bringing in petroleum products into the country, but its efforts were not being complemented by the marketers, who he said had refused to bring in products. He noted that the LPG market was fully deregulated and though the NNPC was trying in this regard, it could not compel the marketers to bring in the product, especially as it was not a regulator. Petrol price to increase as landing cost soars to N213 per litre However, with the landing cost of PMS, popularly known as petrol now at N213 per litre, there are fears that petrol price could increase. Currently, the government is not paying subsidy on the product. While the modulated bracket of N135-N145 is given as official price for petrol, drafts showed that extra N67.7 is incurred on over 35 million litres of daily imports as the landing cost soared. According to the Head of Energy Research at Ecobank, Dolapo Oni, “when oil price was at $52 per barrel, the landing cost was N165 per litre. Later when the price rose to $55, the price soared to N210 per litre. “Now that oil price is averaging at $58 per barrel, the landing cost will hover around N213 per litre,” he said.