14 October 2014, Abuja – As part of the efforts to sustain regular supply of petrol in the country, oil marketing and trading (OM &T) companies have been granted approval by the federal government, through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to import 600,000 metric tonnes, pending the approval of the fourth quarter fuel import allocations.
Under the supplementary allocation, oil trading companies such as Oando, Conoil, Aiteo, NIPCO and Folawiyo Petroleum, each got allocations to import 90,000 mt of petrol in October, while other small fuel marketers got permits to import 45,000 mt of each. The supplementary allocation, which was approved at the weekend, was just for the month of October.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke approves quarterly allocations to the marketers, through the PPPRA, which translates to the importation of about one million metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol monthly.
“The supplementary allocation was approved last week and it will be just for the month of October,” Platts quoted a PPRA source as saying.
Another PPRA source said the supplementary allocations would serve as a stop-gap measure while the agency awaits final approval from the oil ministry for Q4 allocations.
Before November 2011, the business of fuel importation into the country was an all-comers’ affair, resulting in manipulations and malpractices that swelled subsidy claims to about N2 trillion.
A total of 128 companies were engaged in fuel importation in the old regime thus providing an opportunity for the abuse of the system. However, with the reform introduced by the former Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley, the number of participating companies was reduced from 128 to 42 in the first quarter of 2012, before it was further reduced to 39 in the third quarter of 2012.
The volume of imported products also dropped from 5.036 billion litres in the first quarter of 2012 to 4.20 billion litres in the third quarter of 2012. But due to growing concerns that the inability of these accredited importers to access credits from the banks could fuel another crisis in the system, the PPPRA has expanded the list to over 40 participating companies, since 2013.
Paul Ejiofor Alike, This Day