Tunji Oyebanji, former chairman of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), has cautioned Nigerians, especially marketers, against petrol pump price speculation.
Mr Oyebanji said this in an interview on Friday in Lagos. He was reacting to a recent statement by Mike Osatuyi, national controller (operations) of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), that the pump price would increase to N700 per litre.
Mr Oyebanji, the managing director of 11 Plc, said, “It depends on the exchange rate. As you know, at a time, diesel went up significantly at above N800 per litre, but now it has come down to within N600 to N620 per litre. So, once you are in a deregulated environment, that is how it is, especially when you are importing the product.”
He added, “I cannot project price of petrol for now until we import the product. Not until you order a cargo or know the exchange rates before can you predict the price. Those projecting the price are just saying this on a sensational basis to get marketers excited. I do not think anybody needs to do that.”
The NOMAN’s ex-chair stressed that if “there’s a certainty; if you are observing the exchange rates, you will see that it is getting worse.”
He further mentioned that if the price at the international market “is also going up, then you see how those things are being affected, and that is how the price comes in.”
Mr Oyebanji pointed out that “we cannot mitigate prices; people will have to adjust their spending accordingly and prioritise their choice.”
The fuel marketer, however, added that the price could also be reduced depending on the exchange rate.
“The bottom line is that there will be an adjustment in price. Yes, it may go up and can also drop, depending on the exchange rate. But the good thing is that products will be everywhere. If people see that yours is more expensive than those of the filling stations around them, they will not patronise you. Then, you will be forced to bring down prices so that customers can come and buy.”