The Federal Government has denied fixing last week's reduced pump price of petrol that took off on Monday, stating that it has taken a back seat on the issue of petrol pricing in the country.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige stated this on Monday at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa Abuja while inaugurating the bipartite plus technical committee on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, pricing framework.
Stating this in a statement from Ngige’s media office, the minister explained that the new N162.44k fuel price was gotten from the commercials like demurrage, transhipment and storage.
“Make no mistake about it. Government has taken the backseat. Government did not fix the price that took off from today. It was a price reduction gotten from the commercials like demurrage, transhipment and storage. This Committee is expected to do more to enthrone transparency in the area,” Ngige said.
Ngige described the technical committee as a consequential fallout of the outcome of bipartite meetings between the Federal Government and organised labour, represented by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), to fashion out a mechanism and framework to monitor and stabilise PMS pump price.
He recalled that at the last bipartite meeting held on December 7, 2020, they agreed to lower the PMS pump price by N5, with effect from today, Monday, December 14, 2020.
According to the minister, the price reduction was aimed at bringing relief to the Nigerians and consumers.
He said, “This resulted in a downward review of the price from N168,000 per litre to N162.44k per litre.
“We also agreed that we shall inaugurate a committee just like we did in the power sector where we set up a committee on electricity tariff to look at the rate of electricity.”
Ngige said the terms of reference of the committee include to continue to review the cost of supply and incidental commercial costs of PMS and arrive at the basis of determining market reflective pump price, cap, under the template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA Act.
He said the Committee was to engage all relevant stakeholders, to establish a price review framework, as well as carry out any other assignment that would facilitate the work of the committee.
The Minister further said that the technical Committee was expected to submit its report by Monday, January 25, 2021 in the first instance, for the main Committee to study, just like they are also expecting that the electricity tariff committee to do so on the same date.
He said, “I am happy that all the stakeholders in the petroleum sector including the downstream sector, are happy with this move. We also want to thank the petroleum pump retailers, the Independent Marketers (IPMAN) and all others who are stakeholders in this industry for their cooperation.”
Ngige added that with such a high calibre committee, the question of whether petroleum pricing has been deregulated or not, would not be subjected to any coloured interpretation.
The technical committee on PMS pricing is headed by Onochie Azubuike Anyaoku, a former Executive Director Refineries Operations and Petrol Pricing in NNPC as Chairman with Lawan Musa as Secretary/member.