Transport fares double as fuel price hits N1,000/litre in Rivers

*Fuel dispenser nozzle.

Mkpoikana Udoma

Port Harcourt — Despite suspension of the planned strike by the National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit has continued to surge in Port Harcourt and environs, selling between N900 and N1,000 per litre.

A survey by our correspondent showed that only few petrol stations are open for business in Port Harcourt, while most stations along Aba Road, Ada-George Road, Rumuoluemeni-Iwofe Road, NTA-Ozuoba Road, Ikwerre Road, Rukpokwu-Airport Road, Eliozu-Airforce Road are locked and not open for business.

The hike in the pump price of PMS has led to an increase in transport fare by both commercial taxi and bus drivers, as distance from Rumuokoro to Choba hitherto charged N400 is now N600, Ozuoba to Mile III which was previously N300 is now N450, Rumuokoro to Mile I which was previously N300 is now N500.

Meanwhile, some petrol marketers in Rivers State have blamed the price hike and attendant scarcity on lack of distribution by NNPC Ltd. as there has been a gap between demand and supply of PMS in the country.

A former Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, IPMAN, in Rivers State, Dr Joseph Obele said for over two weeks, NNPC had not supplied PMS in the state, adding that marketers were buying from any available source.

Obele further explained that the recent PMS shortage in the country caused by the outrageous landing cost of imported petrol which has surpassed N1,000 per litre as the country’s foreign exchange crisis deepened.

He said, “At the black-market rate of N1,700 per dollar, findings showed the landing cost of petrol, which includes the product’s international price, shipping, insurance, and other charges, increased to N1,009/litre from N720/litre in October 2023.

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“The rising landing cost of petrol is a result of the rising FX crisis.

“This has necessitated the government interventions in the market through further subsidy payment as most Nigerians cannot afford the market price for petrol at the current rate without subsidy.

“Continual denial by the Federal Government regarding further subsidy payment is to uphold the integrity and reputation of the statement of Mr President that ‘subsidy is gone’.

“I think the argument will now end going forward since the International Monetary Fund has exposed every fact that Federal Government through the backdoor has resumed the payment of subsidies since last year.

“Fuel price in Nigeria will continue to increase arising from the external factors at the international market until our local refineries are functional,” he said.

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