Deposit banks in the country during the past one week have opened Letters of Credits (LCs) worth $500 million for oil marketers to enable them import refined petroleum products to the country, with a directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that any marketer still encountering difficulties with the banks in this regard should contact it immediately.
This is part of the outcome of a tripartite meeting among the banks, marketers and the CBN last week, according to the apex bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele at a briefing yesterday on the fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
Also at the briefing attended by all the major stakeholders, including oil marketers, representatives of the Petroleum Ministry, the Debt Management Office and the Federal Ministry of Finance, the oil marketers were assured that they would get reimbursed today the foreign exchange differentials between the rate at which they ordered the products and the current rate which the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has calculated to be N30 billion
Speaking on the LCs, the CBN Governor said : “All the issues have been resolved. Only last week when we had the meeting and now, LCs that have been opened by the banks is over $500 million in one week and $500 million in one week will translate to over 600 million liters of petrol, excluding other products that have been ordered. We would like to appeal to all of you here, the marketers, that if there is any bank that refuses to open your LC, or if it is being delayed, feel free to reach us, you have our numbers and we will appeal to them because there are issues they have raised and those issues are being resolved.”
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, assured the marketers of government’s preparedness to encourage them to continue to supply products. “We will pay them the exchange rate differentials that have been calculated by the PPPRA. We are ready to release N30 billion and we would do more as soon as we get the numbers from PPPRA. The PPPRA has to process this. At what exchange rate so that we can avoid any specter or lack of correctness. We have a number now, but it is a rolling number.”
She then urged the marketers to be patriotic in their dealings with the government as the issue affects all and sundry. The minister commended Nigerians for their patience, saying the crisis will be over in the next couple of days.
“In the next few days, the queues will disappear, the situation will be addressed and everything will return to normal. At the Federal Executive Council meeting today, the issue was discussed in terms of pushing forward and making sure things get back to normal.”
The representatives of the major oil marketers and depot owners at the meeting restated their commitments to ensuring increased supply of products to return the situation to normal.
Mr. Obafemi Olawore, the executive secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, comprising Conoil, Forte Oil, Mobil, MRS. Oando and Total said that the situation will return to normal by weekend.