The Federal Government has admitted to adjusting the pump price of petrol to cater for the impact of high AGO diesel price on the cost of product transportation across the country.

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) which made this known in a statement, yesterday, also said it was making special provision of diesel to marketers at a reduced price.

Recall that the minister of state for petroleum resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had in the wake of the increase in the price of petrol at filling stations, said the federal government did not give approval for such action.

In a statement titled, “Update on the Supply and Distribution Of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) Nationwide” the NMDPRA attributed the current fuel scarcity in the country to the activity of smugglers, “who divert PMS meant for Nigerian market to neighbouring countries where PMS prices are significantly higher than Nigeria’s regulated price.”

The authority said it was engaging and collaborating with the Nigeria Customs Service to address this issue.

It said the price arbitrage between Nigeria and neighbouring countries has continued to grow due to inflation and the regional impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the global energy value chain including international freight rates and coastal vessels charter rates.

The Authority reassured of petrol sufficiency, with available volume of over 1.6 billion litres as of 26th January 2023 both on land and marine, while the NNPC has additionally made firm commitment to supply more volume of PMS for the months ahead to guarantee national energy security and nationwide availability at the government regulated price.

According to the statement, “NMDPRA and key stakeholders including NNPC have put various measures in place to address the issues, including: Modest adjustment in the cost of product transportation to cater for the impact of high AGO price on transporters, while making special provision of diesel to marketers at a reduced price; Automation of products sales interface; Emplacement of a monitoring system in collaboration with government security agencies for distribution of products to retail outlets; Extended operating hours both at the loading depots and some selected filing stations as well as Rehabilitation of critical fuel distribution road network through federal government’s tax credit scheme by the NNPC amidst regular stakeholders’ engagements; among others.”

According to the agency, the ongoing government effort to rehabilitate strategic Nigerian roads ahead of the rainy season has necessitated rerouting of tanker trucks conveying petroleum products to alternative roads, therefore increasing transit time and associated cost of product transportation.

It also said, “We have reinforced our monitoring teams and appropriate sanctions to checkmate the activities of erring marketers who are distorting our planned product flow to designated outlets in order to profiteer from price arbitrage have been emplaced.”

“As a medium to long term measure, cost-efficient means of transportation, including Autogas conversions and pipeline rehabilitation, are being implemented. This will be complemented by end-to-end process automation across the value chain.

“NMDPRA appreciates the collaborative efforts of some patriotic oil marketing companies who, despite the glaring incentives to engage in illegal price arbitrage, have stood steadfast and operated responsibly within the approved pricing limits.

“We would like to reassure all Nigerians that NMDPRA as a responsible regulatory authority would continue to work passionately to ensure energy security and continuous collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders to restore normalcy in the Premium Motor Spirit supply and distribution network within the shortest possible time,” the NMDPRA said.

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