Abuja—Lack of access to foreign exchange (forex) and price control have forced independent marketers to abandon initial attempts at importation of petrol, the Nation newspaper reports.
The inability of the marketers to source and distribute petrol without recourse to the national oil company, has again seen the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) emerging as the sole importer and source of petrol nationwide.
Members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) yesterday lamented that the forex situation and the structural imbalance in the pricing regime were frustrating their full participation in the downstream oil sector, contrary to the ideals of full deregulation.
Three major marketers had, upon the removal of petrol subsidy and adoption of a free-market economy for the downstream sector by the new government, launched into private importation of petrol in July.
IPMAN’s National Vice President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria Abubakar Maigandi, said the marketers abandoned the petrol importation business due to lack of access to foreign exchange at the banks.
He alleged that NNPCL depots have refused to sell petrol to independent marketers, noting that the rate at which the marketers were loading the product from the depots has reduced.
Maigandi said: “I don’t know about major marketers not having petrol in their depots. The only thing I know is that the rate of loading has reduced.
“The way we used to load there is now reducing. From the loading point, NNPCL refused to give us allocation. They have reduced the way they had been given allocation to marketers.
“Up till now, only NNPCL can come with the PMS, marketers cannot buy the PMS because of the price and foreign exchange.
“Most of the marketers are not getting the foreign exchange from the banks. So everybody relies on the product that NNPCL imports and shares to the marketers.”
On the ex-depot price, he said except in NNPCL depots, the price has been increased.
He pointed out that NIPCO has been selling at N585 instead of N557 per litre.
“NNPCL is still selling at the same N567 rate in Lagos but they will not allow marketers to buy. NNPCL has left the price unchanged at N567 per litre,” Maigandi said.
Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) Corporate Communications, General Manager, Mr. Kimchi Apollo did not respond request for comments on the situation.