Oil marketers on Saturday said it was possible to sell Premium Motor Spirit at N85 per litre.
They however expressed doubt if Nigerians were ready to absorb the fluctuations or modulations in the pump price of petrol beginning from next year.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had on Friday stated that from January 1, the pump price of petrol would be N85 per litre.
Kachikwu had stated that from the applicable market realities for the pricing modulation, government discovered that petrol would sell for either N85 or N86 per litre as a result of the fall in the international price of crude oil.
Reacting to the development, the Corporate Affairs Manager, NIPCO PLC, an oil marketing firm, Mr. Lawal Taofeeq, told our correspondent that although it was possible to sell the product at N85 per litre, many citizens may not be ready to pay higher cost, particularly if they do not understand what price modulation .
When asked if it was possible for the price of petrol to be at N85 per litre, Taofeeq said, “It is possible, but the issue that government needs to understand is that should there be fluctuation in price, are Nigerians ready to absorb it? “If the price of crude oil should go up again, will Nigerians be ready to pay the resultant increased cost for petrol? Now the government is taking advantage of the fact that the price of crude oil has fallen, what if the price goes up tomorrow, what will happen?
“So there is need for adequate education. We know the government is avoiding subsidy. It should let Nigerians know that there is no need for subsidy now based on the price of crude oil in the international market, but if the price goes up tomorrow, who takes the difference? How many Nigerians know what price modulation is all about?”
An official of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigerian also told our correspondent that the government should be bold enough to stop subsidy and tell Nigerians that its decision on the issue.
The official who pleaded not to be named in print, said, “I know they (government) don’t want to continue paying subsidy and many Nigerians know this too. They should come out boldly and say it, rather than using price modulation as excuse. However, I wonder what will happen if crude oil price begins to pick up again.
It is however possible to sell at N85 now.”