Thursday, May 23, 2024

FG May Pay N1.68tn Fuel Subsidy, Marketers Forecast N900/Litre

The Federal Government may be spending about N1.68tn as subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, from September to December 2023.

This is according to an analysis of data provided by oil marketers and the sector has shown.

PMS dealers stated on Thursday that the pump price of petrol should be between N890 to N900/litre based on the fall of the naira against the United States dollar and the surge in the price of crude in the international market.

Petrol currently sells at between N598 and N617/litre depending on location, fueling suspicion that the Federal Government is subsidizing the commodity.

The government and the NNPCL have not officially admitted that subsidy on petrol has been reintroduced.

President Bola Tinubu had on May 29 ended the subsidy regime during his inaugural address.

The government subsidizes PMS through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited. NNPCL is the sole importer of PMS.

Other marketers stopped PMS imports due to their inability to access foreign exchange.

The removal of subsidy led to an increase in the pump price of petrol from about N198/litre in May to the current rate of N617/litre.

Also, the fall of the naira and the rise in crude oil prices have continued to mount pressure on the cost of PMS.

Dealers in the downstream oil sector explained that the cost of crude oil and the exchange rate of the naira-dollar accounted for over 80 per cent of the cost of PMS.

Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, rose to about $95/barrel on Thursday. It had peaked to $97/barrel the preceding day, which was the highest figure in 2023.

Oil had started the year at about $82/barrel, dipped to $70/barrel in June, but traded above $94/barrel in the past week.

A week earlier, the naira was exchanged to the dollar at 950/$.

However, on the FMDQ at the Investor & Exporter forex window, the naira appreciated slightly after closing at 770.71/$ on Wednesday from 776.76/$ on Tuesday.

According to oil marketers, the forex crisis and the recent rise in crude prices have made it impossible for petrol prices to remain at N617/litre. They insisted the government had quietly reintroduced fuel subsidies.

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