Nigeria: Independent Marketers Return To Fuel Importation
…to have equal access to Forex with NNPC at CBN
It has been confirmed that the sole-importer status of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of petroleum productions into Nigeria has changed again. Private oil marketers have indeed joined the national oil company in the importation of petrol.
Permits are said to have been given to approved marketers to commence importation of fuel. In addition to endorsing them to bring in products, they have been assured that they would be supported with foreign exchange (FOREX) from the same table at the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).
A couple of years after the Muhammadu Buhari administration came into power, the importation of petroleum productions was in the hands of private marketers. The private importers were however sacked and the NNPC was made the sole importer of fuel by the administration.
General Manager, Corporate Services, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Kimchi Apollo, confirmed to newsmen in Abuja yesterday that the sole petrol importer status of the NNPC had changed, as his agency recently gave various oil dealers permission to import.
“Well, as far as I am concerned, many of them (marketers) have gone to import because they took QMs from us to bring in products and I am sure they are doing that already. The QM is just like a pass to go and bring in products. You come to us to say you want to bring in products and then we say go ahead based on the pass that we give,” he said.
According to him, the market had been liberalized last March when the subsidy on fuel was removed. He said that the private marketers alongside the NNPC will shop side by side for products from international refiners “The market now is such that both the NNPC and other marketers are on the same level of going to buy from the international market to sell to final consumers,” Apollo said.
According to him, equal opportunities were offered to independent marketers for the chance to return to the business. He said all qualified marketers who approached the agency and had the competence to import petrol were cleared for such operations. Apollo also noted that the agency had been working with the CBN to make foreign exchange available to marketers for petrol imports.
He explained that there are however yardsticks that should be met before any marketer can bring in products.
“Also, the PPPRA is doing its best to liaise with the CBN to ensure that marketers are not discriminated against. They too should have access to forex as much as the NNPC. So they should have a level playing ground.”
When asked if the PPPRA had allowed marketers to determine the price of PMS based on the competitive market situation currently in place, Apollo replied no. The PPPRA had failed to live up to expectation that it would announce a new price band following the NNPC’s reduction of depot price from N113 to N108 on May 1.
Apollo said, “Because of this COVID-19, there is an unnecessary delay to get some things done. “So it was then advised, and this was by all stakeholders and not marketers alone, that we should maintain this (current) price.”
~Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja