20 April 2016, Abuja -Fuel scarcity may last a long time as marketers have stopped importation due to a $1 billion debt burden.
Speaking to Vanguard yesterday, the Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, said marketers had not imported products since December 2015.
He said: “Since December, we have not imported products. You will recall that NNPC has been importing about 78 percent, while 22 percent was allocated to DAPPMA, MOMAN and NIPCO.
“The letters of allocation were given to us, but we have not been able to secure foreign exchange due to government policy on FOREX. “Consequently, exposure to our creditors has left us with a $1 billion debt.”
Adewole explained that due to the debt burden, their creditors had resorted to being paid in cash.
He said: “Our creditors now demand that all our imports must be cash backed and of course, it is in dollars. We do not have money to import because CBN has not given us FOREX.”
Denying the fact that marketers divert petroleum products, thereby aggravating the scarcity situation, Adewole explained that they do not have enough products to warrant such diversion. According to him, “the queues are still long because there is no foreign exchange to bring in cargoes.
For now, there is inadequate FOREX. If we get the FOREX, we will be able to bring in the cargoes and supply all our customers. “The much that we have in circulation right now is from our members and NNPC imports.
All hands are on deck to ensure that the fuel queues disappear in a short time. “It is not something that will go in one day or two days; the situation has lingered for about two months now. So it could not go in one day. What we are working towards is to ensure that it disappears as fast as possible.”