By Victor Graham
The Federal Government has described as embarrassing and disturbing reports of increase in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, saying the announcement was misleading and false.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said neither he nor President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the decision to increase the retail price of petrol to N212 per litre.
Sylva in a statement on Friday, apologized to Nigerians for the distress and inconvenience, the unfortunate information might have caused and asked that reports of the increment should be disregard, saying cynicism and deceit have never been the trademark of President Buhari.
“Dear Nigerians, you are by now very aware of the news trending that the federal govt has increased the price of petrol to N212.6 per litre.
“Irrespective of the source of that information, I want to assure you that it is completely untrue. Neither Mr. President who is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, nor my humble self who deputise for him as Minister of State, has approved that the pump price of petrol should be increased by one naira. I would therefore urge you to disregard this misleading information.
“You are all aware that for the past few months the govt has been in consultation with organized labour to find the least painful option to respond to the global rise in the price of crude, which in turn has inevitably led to increase in the price of PMS. It is unthinkable that govt would unilaterally abandon these discussions and act in the manner suggested by the information under reference.
“I would like to equally assure you that the engagement with organized labour and other stakeholders will continue even as the calculations to arrive at a reasonable price regime are being done; all in good faith, and you will be availed of the final outcome at the appropriate time. Until then, all marketers are strongly advised to maintain the current pump price of PMS before the emergence of this unfortunate information. Those who may want to take advantage of this unfortunate misinformation to extort Nigerians should not give in to such temptation as there are regulatory mechanisms that govt can enforce to protect its citizens.
“In conclusion, I want to sincerely apologise to all Nigerians for any distress and inconvenience, the unfortunate information might have caused”.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had posted on their website the guiding prices of petrol but said it was only indicative of current market trends and do not translate to any increase in the product.
The media was abashed with the post which led to uproar across the country, but a check at the PPPRA website revealed that the publication has been brought down while the agency through its Executive Secretary, Abdulkadir Saidu has also discountenance reports suggesting a new price regime for petrol.