………..blames oil thieves in the Niger Delta

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has blamed the rising crude oil theft in the country for the apex ban’s inability to grant foreign exchange to Nigeria airline operators agitating for rebate and waivers.

CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, made the point on Monday during a joint meeting with the lawmakers of the House of Representatives and officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

The meeting was called to find resolutions to the issues militating against the easy procurement of aviation fuel by the airline operators of Nigeria, which almost led to a shut-down of operations by the airline operators.

He added that the CBN will not grant any concession to the airline operators because it would amount to giving subsidy to aviation operators.

“Oil theft in the Niger Delta was exacerbating the unavailability of foreign exchange,” the governor said to the call by the airline operators to reduce the cost of aviation fuel. 

He added that the CBN had no foreign exchange for airline operators and that since the landing cost of aviation fuel was N460 per litre, the price would come to N550 per litre at the pump.

He added that the Bank would not grant any concession because it would amount to giving subsidy to aviation operators.

“I compelled some fuel marketers to take the loss and to sell aviation fuel at N480 per litre after getting a call from the Chief of Staff to the President that the operators were planning a strike and I promised to intervene,’’ Emefiele said.

At the meeting, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, opined that aviation fuel cannot have a fixed price because it is a deregulated product.

“It is our role to ensure we intervene. We did. We brought in products so that we can dampen the price. In March and April, we brought in cargo and made it available to the entire industry at N460.

“There is a build-up to that price. When the customer takes marine at N435, he has to transport, he has to the charter vessel, bring it to his depot, to his fuel station and transport it. So there cannot be two same prices in Lagos and Maiduguri.

“We cannot fix the price. We cannot ask for N500. We cannot say it must be below N600 or N700,” Kyari said.

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