Sylva links petrol price increase to COVID-19 vaccine discovery

By Bolaji Ogundele and Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

The recent upwards shot in petrol pump price, from N158 to N168, has been attributed to the announcement of a possibility of having a vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic soon.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated this while addressing State House Correspondents on Monday, after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari in his office at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Explaining the reason for the fluctuations in pricing of petroleum products in a deregulated regime, the Minister said prices would continue to be affected by developments in the crude oil market from time to time, adding that the current situation was as a result of a slight increase in the price of crude oil in the international market when Pfizer’s discovery of an effective vaccine for COVID-19 was announced.

“Now what happened recently was because of the announcement of a vaccine for COVID-19 by Pfizer. With that crude oil prices went up a little bit. Of you have been following crude oil prices you would have seen that crude oil prices went up a little bit, as a result of this announcement.

“So when crude oil prices go up a little bit, then you will see that it instantly reflects on the price of petrol, which is a derivative of crude oil. That’s why you see that there’s this movement and if we listen to ourselves, this is the same explanation we’ve been giving.

Meanwhile, Nigeria Labour Congress has said that the recent increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) has only exacerbated the current level of pain and anguish in the country.

Last week, the Petroleum Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), announced an increase in the ex- depot price of petrol from N147.67 per litre to N155.19 per liter.

But the NLC, in a statement by its President, Com Ayuba Wabba, said the increase was against the spirit and content of what organised labour agreed with the Federal Government at the last negotiations over the last fuel price increase.