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Forex scarcity still hampers petrol importation by Nigerian marketers

Marketers of petroleum products have said they are yet to go back to the importation business due to their inability to access foreign exchange.

According to them, sourcing dollars at the official market rate remains a challenge to them due to its scarcity, adding that they could not go to the black market in search of forex because of the cost implication.

This is happening months after the federal government said it had removed petrol subsidy, deregulated the downstream petroleum industry and had given private marketers permission to resume importation of petroleum products

The petroleum marketers including the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) have continued to depend on the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), the petrol importing arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the supply of products.

The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, had sometime in September, assured the marketers that concrete steps had been taken to address their main concerns, especially the issue of availability of forex, stressing that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had already taken the first step of merging all forex windows to have a unified exchange rate.

However, three months since the assurance was made, marketers said nothing has changed and that they are still encountering the same challenge posed by difficulty in accessing Forex.

The situation has left the NNPC to continue playing as the sole importer of petrol as only it can access forex at the current official rate of about N380 or there about, to a dollar.

“Nothing has changed. The forex issue is still like that. And as you can see, the government has also extended that DSDP (the exchange of crude for refined petroleum products) arrangement.

“That’s a signal to you that foreign exchange may not be there for us to access,” The Chairman of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, told THISDAY.

The Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, had said aside petrol pricing, one other element of petroleum marketing that had not been fully deregulated was access to foreign exchange.

He explained that private importers of petroleum products did not have access to foreign exchange, leading to the continuous monopoly by the NNPC in the country’s petrol importation.

Source: This Day