The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) currently imports 78 per cent of the 3.1 million metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) due to the inability of some oil marketers to meet their quota following difficulty to access foreign exchange.
Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Farouk Ahmed made the clarification while defending the agency’s import allocation policy.
“We gave 78 per cent of the import allocation to NNPC because we are sure it can source foreign exchange through crude oil sales to finance its importation. If we go back to recent historic trends, especially in the last six months, you will discover that most marketers had difficulty in raising Letters of Credit due to lack of forex,” explained the PPPRA boss.
Dismissing insinuation that the import allocation was skewed to ease out private sector marketers from the business and to engender NNPC monopoly, Ahmed explained that even the foreign exchange requirement for the 22 per cent import allocation to other oil marketers was being covered by the NNPC and the Central Bank to ensure they perform.
“The idea is to give support to the marketers to enable optimum service delivery, while ensuring stability in the system,” he said.
On the reported disparity in pump price of fuel across the country, the PPPRA executive secretary said with the massive importation and distribution of petrol by the NNPC, price disparity will soon disappear as supply is intensified to every nook and cranny of the country.
“This problem is being tackled in two ways. Firstly, with the support of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, PPPRA and DPR are working to ensure compliance. Secondly, once product is abundantly available, it becomes a straight issue of supply and demand and competition for market share. And that is the idea,” he said, stressing that the era of fuel supply and distribution challenges are over in Nigeria.
By Olisemeka Obeche