Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum, has said the recent N4 increase in price of petrol in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) filling stations comes as a surprise to him.
READ ALSO: NNPC Increases Pump Price Of Petrol By N4
The minister made this disclosure known after receiving an award at an event organized by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) in Abuja on Sunday.
NNPC retail outlets had been selling fuel at N141 until on Thursday, when the price was increased by N4 – meeting up with the government benchmark of N145.
The minister said: “It is obviously humbling and too early in the day to receive an award and to be recognised so soon in some of the things we are trying to do. It is humbling, I thank them very much.
“First, I am not aware that the NNPC has increased price. I need to look into that. It is a bit of surprise for me, because there are processes in doing this, if they have done that, it means they are doing it wrongly.
“Let me find out what the facts are.”
Mr. Kachikwu also hinted that the increase may not be unconnected to the foreign exchange differentiation.
He continued: “Having said that, the reality is that what we did at the point where we did some liberalisation, was to enable the free market float the price.
“Obviously, as you look at foreign exchange differentiations and all that, it would impact. The worst thing you could do is to go back to an era where we basically were fixing prices.
“What we ought to be doing was watching the prices, making sure that they are not taking advantage of the common man; making sure that the template is respected.
“One of the things I think we had hoped to do, which we should still do, before we embark on any price increase is to work on those templates.”