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After outcry, PPPRA pulls down pricing template for March

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Nigeria’s petrol price regulator has pulled down the pricing template for March a few hours after it published it.

“PLEASE BE INFORMED THAT PUBLISHED PRICES ARE ONLY INDICATIVE OF CURRENT MARKET TRENDS,” Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency said on Friday after deleting the template.

The agency is reacting to the nationwide outcry that welcomed the new template it published on Thursday evening.

The template published Thursday night shows that the retail price of petrol would sell between a market band of N209.61 and N212.61. Marketers usually sell at the upper band.

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With ex-depot price standing at N206.42 per litre, the March template showed that the landing cost for petrol per litre is N189.61.

Many Nigerians believe it was insensitive for the government to impose such a fee considering the current inflation rate in the country.

Although the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had said the price would remain static in March to allow smooth dialogue between government and labour unions. It also cautioned against “artificial scarcity”.

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NNPC was reacting to the queues for fuel formed across Nigeria last week over fears of a rise in gasoline costs.

Lines of cars waiting to enter petrol stations snarled the traffic in Lagos, while some stations in the capital Abuja stopped selling fuel for fear of losing money if prices rose.

Nigeria said last year it had liberalized the sector and eliminated costly subsidies. But NNPC has acknowledged it remains the sole gasoline importer. It is also setting prices at fuel depots.

Experts said the decision not to increase prices, even as global gasoline became more expensive, meant the government was incurring subsidy costs.

The lack of transparency around petrol pricing mechanism has been a point of contention for those monitoring whether the subsidy cost has been permanently eliminated and is one of the sticking points over a much-needed World Bank loan.

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