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FG deregulates downstream petroleum sector

…Says policy came into effect, March 19

…Says intervention in pricing would continue due to marketers’ exploitative tendencies 

…Laments rise in food prices, despite fuel price slash 

The Federal Government on Thursday  clarified that it has deregulated the downstream petroleum industry, adding, however, that it would continue to intervene in determining the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, to safeguard consumers of the commodity from being exploited by oil marketers. 

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated that the deregulation came into effect March 19, 2020.

Sylva disclosed that the decision of the government to continue to intervene in fixing fuel price was as a result of the ugly experiences the government was having with oil marketers, who had deliberately refused to bring down the cost of diesel and other petroleum products whose landing costs had reduced. 

He, however, bemoaned the fact that despite the slash in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, the prices of food items and other commodity were yet to come down, but were instead going up, noting, however, that if the prices were increased by a little margin, prices of food items would have skyrocketed.

He said, “Deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector was approved on the 19th of March. What was announced on that day was already deregulation, However, PMS and kerosene are strategic to the country, hence, we cannot allow their prices to be determined wholly by marketers. Consumers had to be protected. This is what obtains globally.

“If we allow marketers to fix the prices of these commodities anyhow they like, it will not augur well for us. That is why we will continue to intervene in price-fixing. In the recent price-fixing, we allowed the marketers to get some profit, but we determine the price to protect consumers.”

SOURCE: Vanguard