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Sylva made this known while briefing newsmen today on the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.
The Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) had on Wednesday announced a new Ex-depot price of N151.56 for petrol.
Ex-depot price is the price marketers buy products from depot owners.
An increase or decrease in ex-depot price has an effect on the pump price of petrol.
“Government is no longer in the business of fixing prices for petroleum products, we have stepped back.
“Our focus now is on protecting the interest of the consumers and making sure that marketers are not profiteering,” he said.
Sylva said it was unfortunate that people were blaming the government, noting that the deregulation of the sector was imperative for the economy.
He said that it was also a consensus among stakeholders for such a strong policy direction.
According to him, the well-being of Nigeria remains paramount to the government.
“You all know that President Muhammadu Buhari aligns with ordinary Nigerians, especially the poor.
“Left for him, he will never allow an increase in pump price; for this to happen, it means that it is an inevitable decision.
“COVID-19 took the price of crude oil to zero zone,” the minister said.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK