Nigeria: PPPRA Removes New Petrol Price Post As NNPC Insists No Hike

(file photo).

It was not immediately clear whether the decision signalled a reversal of the price hike by the government.

Nigeria's fuel regulators appeared to have walked back on the government's sudden decision to increase petrol price Thursday, with the PPPRA deleting a post announcing the huge increment while the NNPC repeated its earlier claim there would be no increase in March.

The decision came after Nigerians furiously reacted to the new rates that put the pump price of petrol at between N209 and 212 a litre, a significant jump from about N162.

The increase put the lie to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation's earlier assurance that the government would not change prices despite a global crude oil price rebound.

As Nigerians woke Friday to the news, harshly criticising the government, the NNPC tweeted its position remained, a clear contradiction to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency's announcement.

Later, it became clear the PPPRA's "guiding price" online post had been removed. The agency updated its website instead with details of the availability of fuel stock in the country as of Friday.

It was not immediately clear whether the decision to delete the post signalled a reversal of the price hike by the government.

SCARCITY

The announcement of a new price came amid a partial scarcity of fuel that has lingered for weeks, with filling stations clogged by cars queuing to buy petrol.

There had been concerns the government, which says it has deregulated the sector and no longer pays subsidy, would raise rates as crude oil prices have seen a rebound in the global market.

PREMIUM TIMES reported Wednesday that the scarcity in Abuja, Lagos and other cities was caused by depot owners hoarding the product, and raising prices in anticipation of a hike by the government.

The new prices are expected to promptly impact on cost goods and services with inflation at a three-year high, making it harder for more people to afford food and other basic needs.

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