Oil marketers, Sunday, , accused the Federal Government, especially regulatory agencies in the Nigerian petroleum industry of fuelling uncertainty and not providing clarity on policies in the downstream petroleum industry.
In an interview in Abuja, the oil marketers specifically indicted the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), as well as the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the uncertain operating environment.
In particular, National President of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Dr. Billy Gillis-Harry, said following the lack of clarity in recent policies in the downstream petroleum sector, oil marketers had resolved to prevail on the PPPRA to provide direction.
PETROAN comprises owners of all the petrol retail outlets across the country, and its members are either major or independent petroleum products marketers.
He noted that retail outlets owners were yet to commence the purchase of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, at N108 per litre, as stipulated by the PPMC, adding that promises by the PPMC that refunds would be made were yet to materialise.
According to him, retail outlets owners still purchase the commodity at around N113 per litre, I noting, however, that efforts were still ongoing to ensure refunds of the differentials were made to the marketers, though at a slow and uncertain pace.
He said, “First, N108 per litre had been announced by the PPMC as ex-depot price; we have the communication both from the PPMC and the PPPRA. But the reality is that there is no implementation of that as it is today.
“Our members have been loading from the refineries at the last price, which is about N113 per litre. The idea was that they are going to do a credit note back to marketers. Right now, that has not been implemented. The normal thing is to do credit note back to marketers.
“We were also advised by PPMC on Thursday, to send back our old forms. You know marketers, what we do is that sometimes we buy up to 10 trucks or 20 trucks ahead. Now, those purchases, hey have been locked up there, we have not loaded. Now we have been asked to return those forms. When you pay, you are given a form, it is the form that you take and go back to regularize your lifting processes. Now we have been told to return that.
“Basically, when the forms are returned, they would be regularised to the current N108 or whatever it is. But right now, that has not been done. Of course, you can also see that there was no band issued by the PPPRA for products sales. Normally they give a lower band, say N123 per litre and a higher band, say N125. That has not been done.
“In my capacity as the National President of PETROAN, I am reaching out to marketers, our members, to try to reach out to the authorities, to be able to know exactly what the scenario is. That is the reality. We today, will assume that there is some level of partial deregulation by this process.”
Gillis-Harry further disclosed that members of the association are planning to commence importation of petroleum products in the near future, stating that they are already in talks with Nigerian banks and some foreign partners on this issue.
He said, “In the nearest future, we might venture into importation. Do not forget that we form the highest base of clients for petroleum ex-depot purchases. This is because it is our members that form Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), major marketers, NNPC Retails outlets. If we do not have products from NNPC, we would fall back to Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA) members.
“If DAPPMA members are not readily available, our members would not starve the public of our essential services. So the chances of us pulling our resources together to bring in cargo from time to time, until a designated timeframe, for onward distribution to our members directly would not be ruled out.
We are already getting to that; we are already talking to consortium of banks; we are talking to foreign partners, to be sure that we have the right marketing prices and to be sure that the Nigerian public is not starved at anytime of petroleum products.”
Also speaking, President of IPMAN, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo, however, noted that it’s members have started getting the commodity at the ex-depot price of N108,
He said, “This is like a partial deregulation of the sector. we have started getting the product at theex depot price of N108 as announced that by the NNPC.
it is a welcome development but it is not that exciting because it looks more like you will buy products high and sell cheaper. The new price is only good for those buying in high volumes. what you will see happening now is that people will be checking out filling stations that sell cheaper to buy petrol.
“This low price is happening because now there is crash in the global oil market. If the price comes up, the price of petrol will still go up.”
He also confirmed that oil marketers would soon commence the importation of the commodity while he called on the Federal Government fix the country’s refineries, promote local refining and encourage more investments in modular refining.