PRIVATE oil marketers have now joined the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the importation of petrol.
It was gathered from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency on Tuesday in Abuja that permits had been given to several marketers to start importing petrol alongside the NNPC.
Before the downstream oil sector was liberalised in March this year, the NNPC used to be the sole importer of petrol, a task it handled for more than two years.
Speaking with our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday, the General Manager, Corporate Services, PPPRA, Kimchi Apollo, said the sole petrol importer status of the NNPC had changed, as his agency recently gave various oil dealers permission to import.
He said, “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.”
Apollo added, “So, some marketers came and they got the go-ahead permit to bring in products. So, they will be bringing in products.”
He explained that the market had been liberalised, with both the NNPC and other marketers now shopping for refined petroleum 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,” the GM stated.
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 Central Bank of Nigeria to make foreign exchange available to marketers for petrol imports.
He said, “Both major marketers and others who have the competence to bring in products have been given QMs to do so. However, there are 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.”
He added, “Let’s know that the PPPRA is an organisation that is made up of all stakeholders, who are represented on the agency’s board.
“NNPC, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria; everybody is involved.
“The PPPRA does not stand as an entity that has no relationship with others.”
He added that the PPPRA would continue with its price band regulation.