It was learnt that the permit for petrol was given to marketers on Thursday by the government and they were asked to import to supplement domestic production.
Impeccable sources from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency told our correspondent that the marketers would import over 400,000 metric tons of premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol, to augment local production.
It was also learnt that the volume of import was this high because the country’s refineries were still not producing at optimum capacity.
An official at the petroleum resources ministry, who pleaded not to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the subject, said “The output from our refineries cannot meet national demand and that is why the government had to issue permits to marketers to make supplementary importation of petrol. Some marketers have started receiving the permit and they started getting it since yesterday (Thursday).
“You know some of our refineries are performing poorly and this has its effect on the volume of locally refined petroleum products. So the permit is needed to keep the country wet with products for a given period of time.”
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had on Thursday issued 90-day ultimatum to the management of Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company to commence full production at the facility.
The refinery has the capacity to process 125,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Kachikwu had charged the management and staff of the company to ensure that the plant was streamed back to full and active service within the projected period.
Kachikwu, in a statement from the NNPC, had reportedly said “Whatever you need to do to get your refinery back on track, please do it now because this is the time. It’s a 90-day fast-track programme and whatever you need me to do to make that happen, let me know.”
Confirming the issuance of import permits to our correspondent on Friday night, the spokesperson of the PPPRA, Mr. Lanre Oladele, said “It is true. That is all I can tell you for now.”