The Federal Government is set to totally deregulate the down stream sector. This came to Iight as it was learnt, Fedetal Government would soon abandon its policy of fixing the pump price of petrol from this week.
This, according to sources, is to allow independent marketers resume the importation of fuel and sell at profitable margins
It was learnt that the government felt there was no better time than now to implement the decision, particularly when the price of crude oil, which stood at about $41 per barrel at the close of trading on Friday, was still low.
The move is expected to ease the unending shortage of petrol across the country. State owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been the sole importer of petrol for months because independent marketers have been unable to purchase dollars at the discounted official rate due to the scarcity of the green back, courtesy of the fall in the nation’s foreign reserve.
Full deregulation policy, which involves opening up the downstream petroleum industry for participation by all players, particularly the private sector, is widely considered the panacea for the incessant fuel supply crisis in the country.
With full deregulation, there will be fair competition, with the burden of petroleum products supply and distribution shared between private investors and government, with both having equal access to all aspects of industry operations, ranging from refining, sourcing, to marketing and distribution.
The policy is likely to push the pump price of petrol up above the present official price of N86.50 at NNPC-owned filling stations and higher at other independent outlets.
Nigeria is a major crude oil producer and exporter but its four old refineries can barely refine enough for local consumption due to corruption and sabotage of facilities.