Private oil marketers in Nigeria are calling for government intervention to enable them to access foreign exchange at a special rate for the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
According to them, selling the product at N145 per litre is no longer feasible with the current exchange rate, reports PUNCH.
Private marketers stopped fuel importation last year due to shortage of foreign exchange and increase in crude prices, which they said had made it unprofitable to import petrol and sell same at N145 per litre.
The National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, said, “The problem is that the importation (of petrol) is being handled almost 100 per cent by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as private importers have backed out because the increase in crude price has made the landing cost enter subsidy.
“When the crude price hit $59 per barrel, we could not sell petrol again at N145 per litre if we were importing on our own. It is only the government (NNPC) that is importing and can warehouse the subsidy.”
He said the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria should have intervened by providing foreign exchange at a special rate solely for the PMS importation for both the NNPC and private importers.
Osatuyi said, “Right now, the landing cost of the PMS is N154. If you are importing at N305 to the dollar, by the time you add bank charges, it comes to N307 to the dollar. If you apply that to the current crude price, the landing cost is N154-N155. By the time you add all the margins, the pump price is about N160-N167.
“Before private importers can resume importation, the exchange rate to a dollar must be N250 and we can sell at the price of N145 per litre.”
Commenting on the forex challenge, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, also said, “I am told that some people have special rates. If they do, fine; let them give to us also. We will prefer a situation where we have access to forex exchange and we can import.”
The Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, in a telephone interview with our correspondent earlier in the month, noted that the increase in price of crude oil had led to a corresponding increase in the prices of refined products.