PENGASSAN to PPPRA: Don’t issue fuel import permits to ‘briefcase firms’

Pengassan26 November 2013, Lagos – The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has been advised to ensure that only credible companies were issued permits to import fuel.

President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Mr. Babatunde Ogun, gave the advice in a telephone interview with THISDAY.

Ogun who spoke against the backdrop of the reported increase in the number of companies issued licences to import fuel for the fourth quarter of this year from 38 in 2012 to 50, said
import allocations should be restricted to only firms that could deliver the products to Nigerians.
He recalled that in the past, the agency granted import permits to marketers who did not have the wherewithal and who ended up collecting subsidies for product not imported.

“If not for the Nigerian system, we will say expanding the fuel importers list will engender competition, but because the Nigerian system is corrupt, import licences should be strictly restricted to only firms that will deliver,” he said.

While noting that the number of participating firms might have been increased because of the forthcoming yuletide, Ogun cautioned against issuing permits to brief case companies and declared that the “era should be eradicated.”

Meanwhile, another industry stakeholder, who spoke on the issue, also cautioned that the issuance of import permits should be strictly in line with stipulated guidelines in the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) scheme.

The PPPRA recently issued licences to 50 petroleum products marketing companies to import about 3.5 million tonnes for the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 32 companies granted permit in the first quarter of this year.

The number of participating companies was pruned from 128 in 2011 to about 38 in the fourth quarter of 2012, in what the PPPRA said was aimed to check shady deals in the nation’s fuel import scheme.

Stakeholders have however expressed concerns that expanding the list of importers might throw Nigeria into another round of crisis in the fuel subsidy scheme, when licences issued to importers were grossly abused.

– This Day

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