In a move that could further escalate Foreign Exchange, Forex demand and trigger scarcity, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA said it has granted permits to several marketers to start importing petrol alongside the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
According to the General Manager, Corporate Services, PPPRA, Kimchi Apollo, he disclosed that it is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to make foreign exchange available to marketers for petrol imports.
“Both major marketers and others who have the competence to
bring in products have been given Quality Management, QMs to do so. However, some yardsticks 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,” he said.
However, worries remain over the availability of dollar. The country has been grappling with a foreign exchange crisis caused by low dollar inflow as a result of low prices of crude oil which is responsible for about 97% of the country’s main foreign exchange earner, capital flight by foreign investors and very low foreign remittances as a result of global lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This was further accentuated in a statement credited to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN saying that getting the required foreign exchange remains a major source of concern.
‘Nobody has told us where we are going to get foreign exchange from. In the past, people would open letters of credit but they would not get the dollars to liquidate the Landing Costs for a long time and sometimes, by the time they got the dollars from the banks, naira might have fallen. So, it means you have to go and look for more naira to liquidate the LCs. That is why I said availability of dollars is very key, so that when you are making the order for the product, you can make the payment immediately” Adetunji Oyebanji, the chairman, MOMAN said.
However, Apollo insists the sole petrol importer status of the NNPC had changed, as his agency recently permitted various oil dealers 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.
It could be recalled that since 2017, NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol into the country after major and independent oil marketers stopped the importation of the commodity due to crude oil price fluctuations, scarcity of foreign exchange, non-settlement of subsidy debt since 2015 and some other challenges.