By John Okoh
As the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, goes round the country to monitor compliance of petrol supply and proper pricing by stations, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachukwu has dropped the hint of increase of pump price of premium spirit. This is the fall out at an investigative public hearing on the current scarcity of petrol in Abuja, Thursday, which the Minister addressed.
He appealing to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to grant marketers special exchange rate at N200 to the dollar to enable them meet the difference of N32 between the cost of importation and the regulated price of N145 per litre.
In Ondo, Delta and Kwara states where the DRP’s activities were monitored, petrol filling stations have been sealed for hoarding and selling above the approved pump price of N145 per litre.
In Ondo town and Akure, the state capital, the DPR has sealed up 24 stations for selling at N200 per litre. In Delta where the offence of hoarding was found alongside high pricing of premium spirit, 80 stations have been sealed up by the DPR, while the agency has been able to whip many stations into line in Kano through monitoring from the loading depot to the destination of the product.
But some of the station owners were furious. They claimed that they got the product at between N190 and N195 from the depot and therefore should be unexpected to sell at a loss, calling on the government to address the root cause of the lingering scarcity rather resort to harassing them at their business premises.
Meanwhile, Kachikwu in appealing to the CBN to consider a special rate for the importers, said the NNPC stations would continue to sell at the approved price of N145, while the marketers may sell at what he called competitive prices at their own stations.