When the going gets tough, the tough gets going! Nigerians have been forced to endure a lot of difficulties since the government of a President Muhammadu Buhari came to power. In addition to the already tight conditions, oil marketers have told Nigerians to get ready for another increase in the price of petrol occasioned by the lingering scarcity of foreign exchange to finance the importation of the product.
The US dollar hit an all-time high last week, as it exchanged for N400 at the parallel market, according to the oil marketers who also said they were doing their best to retain the price of the Premium Motor Spirit within the approved N133.28 per litre range, despite the competition in the business.
An official of one of the notable oil marketing companies, who spoke to Punch on condition of anonymity said:
“The truth is that Nigerians just have to brace for higher PMS price; there are no two ways about it. The government cannot fund this market; the money is not just there.
“Even if the government wishes to assist, it does not have the wherewithal to do. So, Nigerians should brace for higher rates. We are all aware that the price of crude has been falling in the international market and it is the dollar the government gets from crude sale that it uses to solve forex problems. So, there’s no fast rule or solution to it than for all of us, both users and marketers, to just prepare for a price hike.
“For marketers, they should know that the days of higher profits are gone. Before now, if you want to import petrol, you’ll have to wait for months and possibly bribe some people to get an import licence.
“But those days are gone; nowadays, every interested dealer can get the licence and this has created room for competition, which is why you still get the product at around N140 to N145 per litre. We only hope that this will continue as the dollar availability improves.”
The price of fuel was increased from N86 to N145 on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 after the Federal Government removed the subsidy regime.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said at the time that pegging petrol at N145 was the best solution to the fuel crisis being experienced in the country.