Respite may not come the way of Nigerians any time soon, concerning the prices of kerosine and cooking gas. This is because kerosine has since been deregulated, while the price of gas has been subjected to market forces.
Ruling out regulating the prices of the two commodities, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) declared that market forces would now determine the price of kerosine, and with demand outstripping supply owing to the dual usage of kerosine as aviation fuel, the price of the product may not come down soon.
Speaking on the availability of kerosine, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ngamadu, said:
“As I speak, the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries are refining a combination four million litres daily. Not only that; the refineries are equally refining other products. With the current efforts, the country would soon be saturated with kerosene. But I must appeal to other stakeholders within the supply chain to help ease out the problem by doing what is right. Concerning the pricing, the NNPC does not regulate that. And we all heard what the PPPRA said that it does not regulate the price.”
The President of Nigerian Association of LPG Marketers, Basil Ogbuanu, said the volatility in the exchange rate has ripple effect on the price of gas, as it has gone up to N4, 000 from N3, 500 in the Lagos region, while it is now N4, 500 up from N4, 000 in Abuja for the 12.5 kilogramme.
He explained: “Any price that is more than N4, 000 now is artificial, but the real price now is N4, 000, which is just a little increment from the former N3, 500. This is caused by the depreciation of the naira. We must understand that gas is priced in dollars, even though it is paid for in Naira.
“Another cost element is transport, which used to be between N300, 000 to N350, 000, but now cost N500, 000 and that will reflect in the final price in the northern parts of the country. The price in those areas, including Abuja, would be around N4, 500. Anything above N4, 500 per 12.5kilogramme is artificial.”
Ogbuanu also said the price of gas can no longer be monitored because it is already deregulated.“The price of gas cannot be monitored because the Federal Government has deregulated the product. Another factor is the forces of demand and supply. There was price hike to about N6, 000 last week, because the demand was more than the supply. But now, the supply has equaled the demand, which has forced the price down. As at last week, only two gas plants had the product in the whole of Abuja, but as I speak, about 85 percent of gas plants in Abuja have gas,” he said.
He hinted that the Port Harcourt refinery has resumed production of gas, which would boost supply and reduce the price further. He also added that the whole three major terminals in Lagos have gas and are currently dispensing.
He said the supply of gas in the country would stabilise during the week, especially Lagos and western axis, while other areas may buy gas a bit higher.
Amidst price increment of petroleum products, the Director, Emerald Energy Institute (EEI) of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Wumi Illedare has stressed the need for government to intensify public education to keep Nigerians abreast with current developments in the sector that may necessitate upward movement of prices from time to time.