There are indications that the Federal Government may have tacitly allowed the price of Premium Motor Spirit (popularly called petrol) to be determined by market forces.
The development is indicated in the new role by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), the trading arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
In the meantime, there could be a fresh round of protests against the hike in the price of PMS by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart.
Organised Labour said it would be receiving updates from its unions in the petroleum and electricity sectors before coming up with a final decision in the coming days.
“The outcome of this engagement will determine our response in the coming days. But while we are at that, we condemn the recent price increase, and we call for its reversal with immediate effect.”
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, clarified that the fresh fuel price increase was not part of the agreement reached with the Federal Government in October.
The PPMC has, in the last three months, been conveying the price of petrol to Nigerians and issuing memos to depot managers.
Before now, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) was in charge of announcing monthly price guide, which stakeholders in the sector as well as transportation sub-sector, use in determining the price of services.
But in the prevailing setting, the PPMC, which is just a marketer like others, is in charge of price announcement. This has resulted in arbitrary pricing, as there is no longer clear-cut agency that monitors compliance in the sector.
The Price Review Committee (PRC), which was set up by the Federal Government to appraise the price of PMS, has since been disbanded by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva. Even before the disbandment, the NNPC had refused to attend its meetings for two consecutive months.
The PRC drew its membership from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), PPPRA among others.
As it is, the PPPRA has been confined to promoting the usage of gas as an alternative to petrol.