26 January 2014, Abuja – Nigerians may be heading for another fuel crisis as the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) is delaying the release of the import allocation to the oil marketing and trading companies for the first quarter of 2014.
The oil marketers have been waiting for the PPPRA to release the allocation after they submitted their applications since last year.
The marketers have become increasingly apprehensive as January rounds off without the PPPRA releasing the approval for marketers to import products.
THISDAY gathered that the marketers have exhausted their import allocation for the fourth quarter of 2013.
The relevant officials of the PPPRA could not be reached for comment last night but a source at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told THISDAY that the import allocation for the NNPC and the marketers for the first quarter were yet to be released to the PPPRA by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
“When the NNPC and the marketers submit applications to the PPPRA, they are forwarded to the minister for approval. I am aware that the applications for the first quarter are still on the table of the minister,” the source said.
He however allayed fears of looming scarcity, saying the NNPC had enough stock of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) that could last for several weeks.
But THISDAY gathered that fuel supply is already tightening with the ex-depot price rising to between N91 and N91.50k per litre, against the official price of N87.60.
It was gathered that even after the approval is given, it will take the marketers between 17 and 25 days to obtain import permit from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and also raise Letters of Credit (LC) for the importation of the cargoes.
The Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Obafemi Olawore confirmed to THISDAY last night that the delay of the first quarter allocation was “getting to a dangerous level.”
He said the delay was a great threat to fuel supply, adding that supply was already tightening.
“It is supposed to have been released before now. Definitely, the delay will cause scarcity,” he added.
Olawore also told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the members of MOMAN were now on edge over the inability of the PPPRA to release the importation approval.
Olawore said that the delay by the PPPRA to release the approval might cause acute scarcity of products in the near future.
“If we don’t get approval on time, it will affect our ability to import products and this will in turn delay distribution of products nationwide. The management of PPPRA should release allocations immediately to avoid products scarcity in the country,” he said.
He expressed worry that no marketer had been given allocation approval this quarter.
According to him, the country has limited products in stock and the relevant authorities must do something “because a stitch in time saves nine”.
– Ejiofor Alike, This Day