The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday cried out over the increase in the landing cost of petrol. The state-run oil firm lamented that the cost has exceeded N171 per liter while the pump price remained regulated at the maximum of N145 per liter.
The last known landing cost of the product was N171 per liter which is an indication of N26 per liter under-recovery cost.
The prices of crude oil had recently risen to about $80 per barrel, which has a direct effect on the landing cost of petroleum products.
But in December last year when the price was $64.37 per barrel, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru said the landing cost, which include product cost, insurance and freight was $620 per metric ton. He said the country’s daily consumption had risen above 50million liters per day too.
Meanwhile, its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, who spoke with The Nation on phone, rejected the description of the payment of under-recovery as subsidy.
He said: “As you rightly pointed out in your question, once the prices of crude oil go up in the international market, it affects the prices of product in the international market.
“And equally it affects the landing cost. The gap has really widened but the real figures I don’t have here because I am not here in the office.”
But the spokesman later told this correspondent on phone that “it is only the PPPRA (Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency) that can give you the figure.”
Upon visit to the website of the PPPRA, the pricing template space was blank.
Asked to state why the space was blank, agency’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Agie Apollo, said management has directed the department to revive and update it on daily basis.
The PPPRA spokesman was reticent on the under-recovery cost of petrol. He however said: “The website is like almost as dead. In short, we need to upgrade and update it on daily basis. I just finished talking to the person who is in charge of the updating of the website.”
But according to Ughamadu, it is only the National Assembly that can appropriate subsidy. He explained that the NNPC has only said it is not recovering the full amount for the petrol it sells to the public.
“We have never said we are operating a regime of subsidy. Once you mention subsidy, it is only National Assembly that can appropriate for subsidy. What we have been saying is that we are operating a regime of under-recovery. In other words, we are not recovering the full amount we sell to the public.”
From all indication, the NNPC was evading the question by referring The Nation to the PPPRA since it is the sole importer of petrol and only it knows how much it spends on importation.