Government, in March this year, announced total deregulation of petrol across the country, but Nigerians still pay average of N11.9 billion every month to ensure the uniform price of fuel across the country.
Following forced removal of subsidy in the last four months, a total of N47.7 billion was paid by consumers, in what stakeholders likened to “forcing payment from Nigerians to ensure prices of Coke, Maggi and salt remain the same in all parts of the country.”
The payment was generated through the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) management board, between March and June this year when the federal government announced the deregulation of the downstream sector of the nation’s oil industry.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, had insisted that the government would no longer subsidise Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), because the sector had been deregulated.
But against what should obtain under a deregulated regime, the Federal Government charged an average N7.51 on every litre of petrol that citizens buy to keep PEF in operation amid criticisms. But contrary to the purpose of the ‘pump price tax,’ per litre cost of the product failed to become uniform. Nigerians who live between 100km to 450km away from depots pay above pump price due to transport cost.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had stated that about 52 million litres of petrol was consumed daily in Nigeria, bringing the figure from March to June to about 6.4 billion litres.
So, while the official pump price of petrol was N121.50 per litre in June, data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the country was unable to keep to uniform price as petrol was sold in Gombe for N139.33; Adamawa, N138.00; and Taraba N135.50.The development defeated the reasons for setting up PEF. NBS disclosed that the products sold lower in states like Kwara (N123.86), Ogun (N124.38) and Oyo (N124.39). (Guardian)