By Lexzy Ochibejivwie
There is anger in the land, particularly on social media. From Twitter to Facebook, Nigerians are expressing dissatisfaction with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari over what they perceive as a move to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
While no adjustment has been made to pump price at the moment, many have concluded that the decision to raise the price of the commodity has been taken. Most of those venting anger buttressed their points with the harsh economic realities of the time.
- BREAKING: Remaining Students At Attacked Kaduna School Moved To Army Cantonment
- PPPRA Projects Fuel Price At N212 Per Litre
Although the Federal government is the regulatory arbiter for petroleum price fixing, the template upon which its decision is premised is that arrived at by the Petrol Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA).
Prices of petrol products fluctuate every now and then. This may be caused by several factors, key of which is the price of crude oil at the international market, regulated, of course, by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The PPRA has been an important stakeholder in price fixing over the years.
In this month of March, it considered several factors and came up with a projection. The projection has pegged the price of PMS as N212.11 per litre. But it is important to know a fact or two about petroleum price fixing. First, the PPRA is the recognised agency that projects petroleum prices in Nigeria. They make projections but they are certainly not the final arbiter, as far as price fixing is concerned.
Second, the projection the PPRA makes is not the decision of the government. PPRA’s price is not the price at which Nigerians purchase petroleum products. To be clear, the projection reached by the PPRA is not and should not be taken as the final decision arrived at, as to price increase or reduction in pump price.
Commenting on the issue, PPPRA spokesman, Apollo Kimchi, told Daily Trust, “The market forces now determine the price of fuel at retail stations.
“What PPPRA does now is to set a Price Guide every month so that the marketers do not go beyond the ceiling. What you have seen on our website is true, but that doesn’t mean the government has increased fuel price, government doesn’t hike or reduce fuel price again; the market forces do.”
Before a final decision as to pump price of products can be considered as binding on the public, an official announcement must be made by the government. If a final and public announcement is not made by government, as to what petroleum product should sell for, the projection of PPRA, no matter well thought out, no matter how justifiable it may seem, is invalid and of no consequence.
So, the pump price of fuel, which currently sells between N160 and N165 per litre, may not change any time soon.