The Federal Government on Friday said it would not increase petrol price in June despite the recommendation by the Nigeria Governors Forum that the cost of the commodity is increased.
A committee set up by the Nigeria Governor’s Forum had on Wednesday recommended a petrol price of between N408.5/litre and N380/litre, and also called for immediate removal of petrol subsidy.
But in a statement issued and signed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, in Abuja on Friday, the government ruled out the possibility of a hike in petrol price any time soon.
Although the minister admitted that petrol subsidy had been a huge burden on the government, he assured Nigerians that the cost of the commodity would remain the same at between N162/litre and N165/litre.
Sylva said, “Once again it has become necessary to assure Nigerians that despite the huge burden of under-recovery, the Federal Government is not in a hurry to increase the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to reflect current market realities.
“The current price of petrol will be retained in the month of June until the ongoing engagement with organised labour is concluded.”
He added, “This clarification becomes necessary in the light of recent reports regarding the resolution of the Nigeria Governors Forum to increase the pump price of petrol.”
The minister stated that he would like to strongly urge petroleum products marketers not to engage in any activity that could jeopardise the seamless supply and distribution system in place.
He called on members of the public to avoid panic buying because the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had enough stock of petroleum products to keep the nation wet.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Kennie Obateru, earlier told our correspondent that the oil firm would await the Federal Government’s position on the governors recommendation before changing petrol price.
Petrol imports into Nigeria have been done solely by NNPC for more than three years now.
Obateru said, “We really cannot take a position on that now because we don’t want to pre-empt whatever government is going to decide and it is whatever the Federal Government decides that will come to play.
“So they (governors) have resolved and they probably will communicate that to the Federal Government before a position will be eventually taken. So it is only after that is done that the modalities will now be worked out to determine what price will be best.”