The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Niger, on Friday, warned that any filling station in the state selling Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) above the approved pump price per litre would be sanctioned.

The DPR’s Operations Controller in the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Jankara, gave the warning while speaking in Minna.

He said that filling stations were expected to be selling petrol at between N121.50 and N123 per litre, as approved by the Federal Government.

“The new order means that filling stations can sell fuel for between N121.50 and N125 per litre, depending on the oil company.

“Government announced the current pump price of between N121.50 and N123 per litre of fuel, as against the former price of between N123.50 and N125 in order to completely de-regulate the sector,” he said.

Jankara said that many of the over 1,000 filling stations in the state were already complying with the new pump prices.

“We go out regularly to monitor petrol stations, without notice, to ensure that they comply with the rules and regulations guiding their operations,” he said.

The DPR chief said that fines paid by defaulting petrol stations were between N100,000 and N5 million, depending on the offence committed.

A survey by conducted in Minna on Friday revealed that major oil marketers, such as the NNPC, Total, Oando, Matrix and others, were still selling petrol at between N123 and N125 per litre, asvagainst the current rate of between N121.50 and N123.50 per litre.

An authoritative source at the NNPC mega filling station in Minna, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the station was still selling PMS at N123 per litre.

“We have yet to receive circular on the new price. As soon as we get it, we will carry out the directive,” he said.

It would be recalled that from the old price of between N143 and N145 per litre of PMS, government reduced it to between N123.50 and N125 per litre.

Government had further slashed the price of the commodity to between N121.50 and N123.50 per litre.

For the government to mitigate economic failure in Nigeria, there is need for more investment in local refining as a way out of the looming recession, as well as help the country remain resilient post-COVID-19 and beyond.

Specifically, the Chairman of OPAC Refineries, Momoh Oyarekhua, said by encouraging and increasing local refining, Nigeria saves itself the embarrassing situation of chasing crude buyers around the world.

This he said can also eliminate the importation of premium motor spirit (PMS) and other refined products thereby making it possible that the country cuts its foreign exchange exposure.

“We can save a lot of foreign exchange, which will be utilized to fund other important sectors of the economy, which will mean that, as a country, we will not be heavily exposed to the international crude or currency politics.

“More investment is needed to increase our local refining capacity and the government should provide specific ‘Target Framework’ to further support and encourage local investors in this sector so as to ensure that we produce enough for our local consumption and even for export to earn more foreign currencies while creating jobs,” Oyarekhua said.

Recall that, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world economy had gone into a downturn resulting from the shutdown of economic activities leading to reduced or near absent demand for crude oil. The resultant effect was the drastic fall in the price of crude to nearly $10 in the international market.

On the back of the crisis occasioned by the pandemic, was the collapse of dialogue between OPEC and Russia over the proposed oil production cut leading to a Russia-Saudi Arabia oil price war in March. Russia’s refusal to reduce oil production to keep prices for oil at a moderate level led to a brutal collapse of prices.