According to investigations, a litre of petrol now sells below the official benchmark of N145 in some stations in the Lagos.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who carried out a survey of some filling stations in the Lagos metropolis reports that some stations were selling at reduced rates of between N137 and N143 per liter, depending on the area were mainly the independent marketers.
It was discovered that even though they were selling at reduced rates, they were still recording low patronage from members of the public.
It was gathered that some of the motorists now prefer patonising stations of major marketers since the new prices of the product was announced on May 11 by the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA)
Some of them claimed that they have taken to stations of major marketers because the dispensing metres in stations of the independent marketers might have been compromised.
NAN, however, observed that some stations such as NIPCO at Fadeyi, on Ikorodu Road and at Ilepo-Oba, Ikorodu town were selling the product at N143 per liter.
Some NNPC retail stations at Egbeda-Igando area and Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun were selling at N135 per litre as at Friday.
However, a few stations owned by some major marketers were still dispensing at N145 per litre, while a few made slight downward adjustment of N2.
An Independent petroleum marketer, Alhaji Aliu Folorunso noted that there had been low patronage of the product by the public as motorists, motorcyclists and those purchasing in jerry cans for their electricity generating sets.
He believed that low patronage had been responsible for selling the product below N145 per litre in some filling stations.
Folorunso, also the chairman, World Global Petroleum Ltd., told NAN that the differential in sales in petrol pump prices in stations were the outcome of the recent deregulation, where competition could force down prices.
According to him, some members, who used to sell between 120,000 litres and 150,000 litres (equivalent of 4 trucks) daily are now finding it difficult to sell off 33,000 litres daily.
This, he noted, was because some motorists had been shunning some stations run by the independent marketers, who they believe could have tampered with metres of their dispensing machines.
According to him, the products from private depot owners are now cheaper and available more than products from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“We purchase products from other private depots in Lagos and some of our members are selling below N145 per liter in Lagos.
“From private depot owners, we purchase at between N130-135 per liter as ex-depot price. If you add other costs, we arrive at between N138 and N143.
“The business is not encouraging anymore because we do not have enough margins because competition has driven the prices down. Maybe because NNPC has stake or interest in private depot, they are giving them at cheaper rates,” he said.
One Jonas Theophilus, a civil servant said he could not afford wasting his money by purchasing petrol from some of the Independent marketers who have compromised their metres.
A taxi driver Sikiru Owoeye, said: “since the new pump price became operational, I have been patronising only the big stations as I do not want to take petrol from stations where they under dispense’’.
Alhaji Taofeek Lawal, the spokesman of NIPCO Plc., told NAN that virtually all NIPCO’s stations in all states sell at below the official price of N 145 per litre.
Lawal said that the company had also set aside some incentives for dealers, who sell below N145 per litres.
He said that essence of this was to ensure distribution of enough products within short time frame.
According to him, that is what deregulation brings to the sector. We sell at N134 per litre from the depot at Apapa.
“Any of our dealers can add N6-N7 per litre as margin after adding transportation costs of let’s say N2 per litre.
“Our stations across the states sell below official pump price. Our station at Fadeyi Bus stop can decide to sell below N143 per litre, if he considers turnover because we deal in volume.
“In fact, all things being equal, Nigerians may see further drop in pump price soon, especially in the Lagos area, where several depots are situated,’’ he predicted.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, at a Town Hall Meeting in Lagos recently, assured Nigerians that after six months, competition will force down the pump price of petrol.
He had also added that government will improve domestic refining capacity by ensuring that the three refineries are working to complement imported products by the NNPC and the marketers.
The PPRA announced a deregulation of the downstream sector on May 11, thereby allowing stakeholders to sell at prices not more than N145 per litre.