The Federal Government has approved the issuance of licenses to six new companies to import petroleum products into the country.
The Managing Director of Nigeria Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDRA), Farouk Ahmed, informed State House correspondents about this at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Ahmed stated that apart from the newly-approved six firms, several companies applied for permit to import petroleum into Nigeria in due course.
He also seized the opportunity to dismiss insinuation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) had given approval to Dangote refinery to import petroleum.
Ahmed while addressing State House correspondents said that the NNPCL has no powers to give such approval.
The NMDRA MD further noted that there are several companies that applied for fuel importation permit.
According to him, anyone can apply for importation to get access to the port as the authority is open to all those interested in importing.
“There are six companies who said they want to import fuel in July. Of course, all the others may import in December in November or anytime,” Ahmed stated.
“However, those who expressed interest to bring in fuel in July there were six of them as of this morning.
“The beauty of it is that there are interests which means that they have been able to have access to foreign exchange in order to import.
“Now, as we go along, of course, we will be briefing you on the progress or the achievements so far.
“The important thing is that the NNPC has 30 days fuel sufficiency, so we do not anticipate any gap in supply or in distribution,” he said.
Recall that the House of Representatives last week rejected the motion to suspend the license allegedly granted to Dangote Refinery as the sole importer of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol.
A federal lawmaker (Gali Tijjani) had called for the suspension of the license for a review to accommodate all the petroleum marketers.
The House of Reps, however, moved against the motion as shown in a video posted on Channels Television Twitter handle.
Meanwhile, the NNPCL had last Tuesday denied claims that it already gave a license to the Dangote refinery owner, Alhaji Aliko Dangote to import petrol pending the completion of his refinery.
NNPCL stated that it is not within its jurisdiction to grant a license or permit for fuel import.
According to the report published in a national daily, the writer alleged that the imported fuel would be discharged at the Dangote barge and pumped into tanks to be sold at a market-dictated price to marketers while work progresses at the refinery.
But reacting to the report, the NNPCL spokesperson, Onyi Sunday allegedly described the report as misleading and said that the company was not a regulatory organization.
The immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari on May 22 commissioned the Dangote Oil Refinery to immediately commence operations.