The federal government has blamed petroleum marketers for the recent increase in petrol pump prices.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the government was still paying subsidy on petrol imported into the country.
“I can tell you authoritatively, we have not deregulated. The government is still subsidizing petrol prices. If there are increases in price, it is not from the government,” he told Journalists Monday at a stakeholders’ consultation forum on regulations organised by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA) in Abuja.
He said increased prices implemented in the last two weeks were “probably from the marketers”.
“I will talk to the Authority to ensure that they actually regulate the price. This is not from the government, we have not deregulated,” Mr Sylva said.
Fuel scarcity has continued in Abuja despite the government’s assurances the problem would be resolved.
Marketers had listed the high cost of buying petrol at the depots and the high cost of diesel to truck them as the major factors responsible for the scarcity.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said its members could not sell at the government-regulated price given increased costs.
In July, Abuja marketers increased the pump price of petrol with several stations selling the product above N165 a litre.
Some filling stations within the city centre sell petrol at N180. Mr Sylva did not say why the government has failed to enforce its price.
He said fuel queues in Abuja were gradually disappearing — the same claim the government has made for months without a permanent solution.
“The queues in Abuja are going but I don’t know whether you are seeing more queues but a lot is being done,” he said.
“I noticed that the queues are already disappearing. There are some issues, I believe that the authority chief executive of NMDPRA will be in a better position to explain some of the problems.
“But a lot is going on to ensure that the queues end. As of yesterday, I noticed that the queues in Abuja are easing off,” he added.