Nigeria shuts global traders out of fuel import programme

Petroleum-imports27 July 2013, Lagos – Global commodities traders including Vitol and Trafigura have been shut out of Nigeria’s fuel import program for 2013 because they are not registered in the country.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency or PPPRA said it had issued gasoline import permits to more than 30 companies to date in 2013, most of them local.

“Vitol and Trafigura, like other foreign-based primary oil trading companies, are not part of our domestic [fuel] supply program because they are not registered Nigerian companies,” a PPPRA spokesman disclosed.

The PPPRA has issued permits to import an average 1.6 million mt of gasoline in each quarter this year, mostly to local fuel marketers including Conoil, Oando, Folawiyo MRS Oil and Gas Ltd., Techo Oil Ltd., Sahara Energy
Total Nigeria Plc and Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc.

The PPPRA’s allocation for third quarter gasoline import permits to about 40 companies in late June raised eyebrows in the country and revived fears of a return to mismanagement of the government’s subsidy scheme.

The PPPRA and the country’s parliament had previously restricted the number of companies approved for fuel imports to 20.

PPPRA executive secretary Reginald Stanley said in April that the restriction was to check abuse of Nigeria’s fuel subsidy scheme, which cost the government billion of dollars.

A parliamentary investigation in 2012 found the subsidy’s managers had squandered $6.8 billion over three years on subsidies for imports that were not delivered.

Nigeria imports more than 80% of its fuel requirements, with the government paying a subsidy on the imports to keep domestic pump prices low.

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