FUEL PRICE SKYROCKETS

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Against public outcry, overnment has increased the pump price of petrol to N212.61 a litre, less than two weeks after assuring the nation there would be no hike.

Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced late Thursday that the retail price for a litre of petrol for the month will be between N209.61 and N212.61.

The ex-depot price, which is the amount sold by fuel depot owners to marketers, will be N206.42, while the landing cost stands at N189.61 per litre, the agency said.

The announcement comes amid a partial scarcity of fuel that has lingered for weeks. There had been concerns the government, which says it has deregulated the sector and no longer pays subsidy, would raise rates as crude oil prices have seen a rebound in the global market.

The state-owned NNPC, which regulates the sector and is the sole importer of refined petrol, however, assured there was no such plan for February and March.

On March 1, the NNPC said in a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Kennie Obateru, that contrary to speculations of imminent increase in the price of petrol in the country, there would be no increment in the ex-depot price of petrol in March.

It said, “the Corporation was not contemplating any raise in the price of petrol in March in order not to jeopardize ongoing engagements with organized labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship.”

On Wednesday it was reported that the scarcity in Abuja, Lagos and other cities was caused by depot owners hoarding the product, and raising prices in anticipation of a hike by the government.

The new prices are expected to promptly impact on cost goods and services with inflation at a three-year high, making it harder for more people to afford food and other basic needs.

Already in Abuja, the spiral effects in the purchasing prices of goods and services have began with thousands of people stranded at the bus stops.

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