By Wilson Adekumola
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has explained the reasons Federal Government would no longer fix prices or release templates for Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol.
The Authority Chief Executive Mr Farouk Ahmed, made this disclosure while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Friday, noting that in a deregulated market it is the market force that determine the price.
“As far as we are concerned in the NMDPRA, this is not like before when the PPPRA fixes the price; in a deregulated market, it is the market force that dictates the price,” he said.
Ahmed then said the market was now open for everybody that would import as far as they met all the requirements.
“So, it is not about the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) alone.
“We put the regulation in place, we make sure quality control is complied with, we make sure the product is there and we give licence to prospective importers.
“We make sure we guide the operations of everyone in the sector, whether at the depot or wherever the product is but we will not put a cap on what the price must be,” he said.
Speaking on NNPCL role, Ahmed clarified that it is not the role of the NNPC to fix prices of the petrol it imports and not take over the responsibilities of the authority.
“In the case of the NNPC, the organisation is the sole importer at this point. We told the NNPC to recover its costs because they know how much it cost them to import the product and sell it.
“Of course, we also know how much shipping, offshore, ex-depot and ex-pump are. But we cannot tell them to sell at a price because the market is deregulated,” he added.
The NMDPRA boss also disclosed that the Federal Government has officially scrapped petroleum equalisation as well as the national transport allowance.
He said the NMDPRA, the federal government and Consumer Protection Commission would introduce aggressive monitoring of activities in the downstream sector to forestall profiteering by petroleum marketers.
Ahmed also stressed that marketers are now free to look for their foreign exchange anywhere around the world to import petroleum products and recover their costs without impediments.