By Yemie Adeoye
LAGOS â€”AS Nigerians continue to suffer undue hardship as a result of perennial fuel scarcity which has almost grounded economic activities in the country, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the state owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has ordered the immediate increase in prices of diesel and Low Pour Fuel Oil, LPFO.
Vanguard gathered, weekend, that the ex-depot prices were simultaneously increased twice between January and February 2010, from N92.00 per litre to N100.00 per litre of AGO and N73.00 to N79.00 per liter of LPFO.
An official memo issued by the petroleum marketing arm of the NNPC, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited, PPMC, dated February 2, 2010, which was obtained by Vanguard, showed that the new price took effect from February 1, 2010, a day before the notice was issued.
The memo, signed by Mr. A.M Mohammed, noted that prices of other products such as the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol and Dual Purpose Kerosene,Â DPK, remained unchanged.
Vanguard learnt that the notice was made available to all the major marketers,Â independent marketers, Petroleum Tanker Driversâ€™ chairman as well as some key PPMC officials such as the depot accountant and the depot sales supervisor for immediate action. Fuel retail outlets currently sell diesel between N105 and N109 a litre.
Frequent hikes of product prices
The price of diesel was deregulated a few years ago by the government with the intention of enthroning a level playing ground and competition for stakeholders, but the objective was defeated as the products were hijacked by a so-called cartel.
Frequent hikes of product prices, which are mostly used by industries to power their machineries would, in turn, have effect on the cost of production, hence pushing up prices of commodities in the market.
The NNPC had recently noted that the petroleum products were adequately stocked with enough quantity that could sustain the nation for sizeable number of days, an indication that there was no sign of scarcity
It said that PMS was about 602.169 million litres and could serve the demand for 20 days, DPK was in stock level of 380.228 million litres, about 47 days sufficiency, ATK has 26.471, about 13 days, and AGO had just 64.827 which could only sustain five days.