The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has assured Nigerians that the deregulation of the downstream oil sector is in the best interest of the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Agency, Saidu Abubakar, gave the assurance on Tuesday in Abuja, while briefing newsmen on the deregulation of the downstream oil and gas sector.
Abubakar said that the recent increase in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, hinges on the global market and availability of forex to marketers.
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Represented by Mr Victor Shidok, the General Manager, Administration and Human Relations, Abubakar said many marketers were yet to start importation of products due to non-availability of foreign exchange.
According to him, although the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (PPMC), remained the sole importer of the product, PPPRA will continue to monitor development to check profiteering by marketers.
“The PPPRA as a regulator will continue the role of a watchdog in this deregulation regime. We will continue to maintain our role as a regulator and ensure that Nigerians are not short changed in any way in this process.
“You know how things are globally with the impact of COVID-19 to the global oil market. Accessing forex remains a challenge for marketers.
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“We are hopeful that in a few months to come, Nigerians will understand what government is doing to stabilise the downstream sector,’’ he said.
Abubakar said that the agency would continue to monitor the code of conduct that guides operation of marketers in the industry and ensure that it was not violated.
He reiterated that government was no longer in business of fixing the pump price of petrol but would monitor marketers to avoid profiteering.
He hinted that the agency may not be able to provide monthly price band for the product as it contradicts the deregulation policy.
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“If we give you the price band for this month, it is like price fixing’’ he said, and assured Nigerians that better days were ahead as things would normalise with time.