The Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, has explained why the agency allocated 78 per cent of the total volume of 3.1 million metric tonnes of petrol import allocation for the first quarter to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
He said the decision was due to the inability of some oil marketers to meet previous import allocation quotas as a result of the difficulties they faced in accessing foreign exchange.
Ahmed, in a chat with journalists in Abuja, said, “We gave 78 per cent of the import allocation to the NNPC because we are sure that it can source for 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 have had difficulties in raising Letters of Credit due to lack of forex.”
He dismissed insinuations that the import allocation to the national oil firm was skewed to ease out private marketers from the business and to engender the NNPC monopoly.
“The whole idea is to give whatever possible support to the marketers in order to enable optimum service delivery, while ensuring stability in the system,” he said.
On the reported disparity in pump prices of fuel across the country, Ahmed noted that with the ongoing massive importation and distribution of petrol across the country by the NNPC, the issue of price disparity would disappear as supply had been intensified.
He said, “This problem is being tackled in two ways. Firstly, with the support of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the PPPRA and DPR are working hard to ensure compliance. Secondly, once the product is abundantly available, it becomes a straight issue of supply and demand and competition for market share. That is the whole idea.
“What happened in the recent past was that some marketers were hoarding in anticipation of a price increase, but that did not happen; so, everybody is now releasing their stock into the market coupled with the massive importation by the NNPC. We are, indeed, hopeful that the worst days are over, although we still have to be a bit patient.”