Oil marketers yesterday adjusted the pump price of fuel downwards by Le1, 500 after the 5% trigger mechanism in the formula necessitated the reduction.
The new pump price for petrol, diesel and kerosene is Le12, 500, while fuel oil is reduced by Le1,397.85, to the new price of Le5,743.59 per gallon from the former price of Le7,141.44.
Pronouncing the new price reduction the Managing Director of the National Petroleum Company (NP) Mohamed Babatunde Cole explained that, “changes have taken place in the international market since the last price decrease on 27th October 2008,” adding that due to these changes in the world market price for oil they have decided to reduce the prices of petroleum products.
Mr. Cole used the opportunity to rebuff statements generally made by the public that the oil companies are making a lot of money, pointing out that, “indeed the oil companies are in the business to make money to continue to survive and continue to provide the service”.
The NP Managing Director disclosed that business “in the oil industry in the past 18 months have been difficult”, stating that “in terms of profitability it has been very very low to the point that we have not been making money.”
“But we believe,” he said, “that we have to service the people, by providing the service for them and in conjunction with government we have made a lot of sacrifices, reducing our costs, our profitability so that we might be able to survive to keep the price of petroleum products below what it is supposed to be”.
Mr. Cole further maintained that, “we have made sacrifices for the past sixteen months, government has also done that, and if anything at all the consumers have benefited, because they’ve been buying products below what it is supposed to have cost them”.In that situation, he said, “somebody definitely must have been losing money…not only the oil companies but government also, for the consumers to enjoy the products below the price.”
He urged the media to help educate consumers and make them understand and appreciate their strides. Reacting to persistent rumours of the pump price being Le10,000 per gallon, he stressed that, “it does not mean that when world market price is coming down, immediately we effect it, … there are other considerations and we will reduce the price when necessary” he maintained. He lamented that everyone has become an expert in the oil industry, but honestly he said, “this industry is the most transparent in this country”.
He called for people to be patient, trust and respect the industry, and assured that they “will continue to service them, and make sure that products are available.” The Director of Petroleum Unit, Dan Mason and Ernest Gotosa of Total made meaningful contributions to the conference. By Samuel John