By Adewale Sanyaolu

President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Frank Jacobs, at the weekend lauded the strategic approach of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to crash the price of Automotive Gas Oil( AGO) popularly called diesel by about 42 percent.

Jacobs, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun yesterday, confirmed NNPC’s claim that it has crashed the price of diesel by about 42 percent.

The MAN President said his factory in Imo State is currently procuring diesel at N160 per litre as against N180 about three weeks ago.

‘‘Though, I might not be able to speak for other MAN members, but I can speak for my company. We are currently procuring for N160 per litre. I commend the management of NNPC on this initiative. But the only sustainable means to increased productivity still remains reliable public power supply.

This will go a long way in cushioning the effect of huge overhead cost on the part of manufactures,’’ he said.

Manufacturers in the country have consistently lamented over the huge cost of alternative source of power supply, which accounts for about 40 percent of the cost of production, thus making manufacturing less lucrative.

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A marketer with Nipco Plc,  Mr. Kunle Adebanwi, equally confirmed the slash in diesel price,saying the decline could be attributed to the increased production of AGO by the refineries.

He said the refineries are now more into the production of AGO than any other petroleum product,thus leading  to a sharp decline in price of diesel.

‘‘For Nipco, we get about 10,000 metric tones of AGO per week and our ex- depot price is about N145 per litre.What that means is that by the time the product gets to the retail outlets, it would sell for about N155 and this includes all other ancillary cost,’’ he clarified

Recall that NNPC in a statement yesterday, said a national survey by Oil and Gas Forum, NNPC’s weekly TV programme, indicated that in the last few weeks, the price of diesel had fallen steadily from between N175 and N200 per litre as at June 18, 2017, to as low as between N155 and N160 per litre in some stations across the country as at last week.

The study disclosed that NNPC Mega Stations and its affiliates across the country sold the product for N160 per litre while many major and independent marketers in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Onitsha, Enugu, Makurdi and most major cities were selling between N160 and N165 per litre. In Port Harcourt the average price is as low as N150 per litre.

In the first quarter 2017, retail prices of AGO, which is one of the deregulated products, shot up to an all-time high of N300/litre in major demand centres across the country.