Fuel Scarcity: We’ve not removed fuel subsidy, says Fed Govt

For the record, the subsidy on the Premuim Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol has not been removed, the the Federal Government said yesterday.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva made the clarification during a chat on the sidelines of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) stakeholders’ consultation forum on regulations.

The stakeholders’ forum, which held in Abuja, was organised by the authority to consider and review the midstream and downstream petroleum regulations to bequeath the industry with laws and policies to enable needed investment in the sector.

Sylva was reacting to the increase in pump price of petroleum by marketers from N165 per litre to N169, N184 and N218 per litre depending on the area in Abuja and other states.

He said: “I can tell you authoritatively, we have not deregulated. The government is still subsidising petrol prices. If there are increases in price, it is not from the government.

“It is probably from the marketers but of course, I will talk to the authority to ensure that they actually regulate the price. This is not from the government, we have not deregulated.

“But a lot is going on to ensure that the queues end. As of yesterday, I noticed that the queues in Abuja are easing off.”

There was scarcity of the product in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and some city centres until marketers raised the litre price from the regulated price to above N170.

Although the crisis in Abuja started in 2021 after the government announced plans to remove fuel subsidy, a major shortage hit major cities including Lagos in February.

The scarcity led to queues at filling stations and leaving millions unable to power their cars and generators they rely on for electricity.

The discovery of high amounts of methanol in imported fuel also contributed to the scarcity then, as authorities tried to replace the off-spec product across the country.

The crisis lingered for months despite assurances from the Federal Government that it had sufficient stock of petroleum products for distribution.

The scarcity continued in Abuja “on and off”, while black market sales thrived.

The Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products (ADITOP) complained that high cost of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) used by petroleum tankers and low freight rate were responsible for the current fuel scarcity in the FCT.

The Federal Government had since increased the freight rate of transporters by N10 which was a huge jump from N10.46 to additional N10 and now N20.46.

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