By Ediri Ejoh & Genevieve Aningo
Amidst controversies over appropriate pump price for petrol, reports of the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has indicated that petrol marketers in16 states of the country are selling the product significantly higher than the N145 maximum price stipulated by the federal government.
While the marketers have subtly canvassed for upward review of the ceiling on the bases of upwards movement in exchange rate, the key factor in the petrol pricing template, many stakeholders have argued that the marketers were being selfish in pressuring the government for their financial gains at the expense of the economy and the citizens. Also the federal government through both the presidency and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, have resisted the pressure saying that the increase was not acceptable. Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has also indicated that at N145 per litre the marketers were already making huge margins on the exchange rate of N280/USD1.00, arguing that the further depreciation of Naira recently only narrowed the profit margin instead of wiping it out. But according to the NBS report, as at last month Nigerians across the 36 states bought petrol at average of N147 per litre, above the fixed price cap of N145 per litre. Specifically, the reports show that in 16 states the price ranged from N145.90 in Imo State to N164.30 in Bayelsa State. In the report, all oil producing states are running the most expensive fuel price, except Edo and Delta. Other states that recorded significant mark-up on the benchmark price include: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Rivers and Sokoto, with a range of N146 and N164.3 per litre. Meanwhile, within this period, no regulatory agency has been able to check the discrepancy.