The Federal Government has announced plans to make the foreign exchange available to petroleum product marketers, in order to make the importation of petrol into the country competitive, reduce the rising cost of the product, and stop the overdependence on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for its importation.
According to a report from Punch, this disclosure was made by the National President of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chinedu Okonkwo, during a chat with newsmen on Monday, November 17, 2020, after the oil marketers had met with officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance last week on the need to make the foreign exchange available for petrol imports.
The scarcity of foreign exchange due to low dollar inflow into the country has been a major factor affecting the importation of petrol by oil marketers.
The availability of forex to oil marketers would stop the current monopoly in the importation of petrol by NNPC, who has been the major importer of petrol over the years with other players in the downstream oil business buying the product from them.
The IPMAN President said, “Last week we got some assurance from the Ministry of Finance on how to help us access the dollar at the same rate with NNPC because the market is now open.
“Now if we get that, we have got people who are ready to bring in this product, but their challenge is how they can get the dollar. So, if by the time we finish with government and sort this out, a lot of marketers are ready to bring in products.”
Going further, Okonkwo said, “I know that by the time that happens, it will create healthy competition, where if we can’t get the product from the Singaporean market, we will get from Russia or Europe. It will no more be a one-man show like it is right now.”
He said that the support for other oil marketers to get fully involved in the importation of the products is one of the strategies employed by the government to bring down the price of petrol.
What you should know
Nairametrics had last week, reported the increased in the ex-depot price of petrol from N147 per litre to N155.17 per litre by NNPC. This gave rise to a lot of public outcry and condemnation, as the move led to an increase in the retail pump price at the filling stations to between N168 and N170 per litre.
The availability of foreign exchange to petroleum product marketers will help drive competition in the downstream sector of the oil industry and ultimately drive down the cost of petrol in the country, as there will be more products available.