“There are social media commentaries implying that when we met with the committee set up by the senate president to review the causative factors of the fuel scarcity and find solutions, there was a statement credited to me that said that price might be increased to N180.
“No such statement was made; no such plan is intended.
“I needed to clarify this, because sometimes, some of these rumour mongering all add to the difficulties NNPC had in terms of being able to control price speculation.
“The president mandate on this issue is very specific: we are not increasing price from N145,” he said.
He said that the essence of the meeting on Thursday and the committee meeting still going on was to find mechanisms to ensure that fuel queues do not come back to Nigeria.
According to him, part of the meeting is also to ensure the wetting of all the stations so that product is available at every time for Nigerians.
“Also, that private marketers that had pulled out from participation, that we deal with their problems, so that they can participate effectively in the supply of petroleum products in the country, all within the parameters o f N145 per litre pump price.
“I thought we should make this very clear. This is not a matter for speculation; anybody who does speculation on it is not being helpful to Nigerians; that they have already gone through a very difficult Christmas period.
“We are working night and day to try and find solutions,” he said
Kachikwu frowned at those politicizing the issue as government was working hard to provide succour to Nigerians and to provide product at N145.
“I have reacted to this, I think it is very important to make this go universally clear.
“We are actually looking at steps for those who have breached these processes, what we can do to penalise them and also set very stiff penalties for those who go to sell above N145.,” he added
The Minister said that going forward, after the recommendations from the committee, they would be very massive enforcement and very firm position on this issue.
He said that there would be very firm tracking of product in the country adding that nobody deserved the sort of up and down in terms of product supply in this country.
“I want to make that very clear, there is no discussed intended price increase issue; price is N145 per litre at the pump price; it remains that; nothing has changed; there is no mandate to increase that.
“But we are working very hard, to see that, working with those price parameters, we can provide Nigerians with refined petroleum products all the time, avoid fuel queues and ensure that our business partners in the private sector participate actively,” he said
Kachikwu further noted that there was no multiple price-fixing environment, where people could work outside the umbrella of what had been fixed.
He said that what was approved was a modulation between N135 per litre and N145 per litre.
He noted some marketers sold at N143, the majority sold at N145.
“Some recalcitrant individuals sold above that and that is why the law needs to go after them. There is no authorization to modulate outside the N135 – N145 bracket. Nobody is free to set price above that,” he said .
Commenting on the role of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), he said that they regulate the template and help in monitor importation into the country.
This, he said helped to ensure the proper volumes of products that come into the country.
He added that the template had always been an issue, because as prices change in the international market, some of this template become questionable.
“There are two lines over this template — there is the actual cost of landing the product on the template and there are other ancillary charges, dealing logistics, profit margins for the operators and all that, which are the below the line elements.
“As part of this committee’s work, we are also reviewing that template to see whether there are things we need to do, all to help us ensure that we can accommodate sales at the N145 per litre window.
“That is also going to be looked at. PPPRA is working on that and it is heading a special committee on it,” he said .(NAN)