Oil marketers lament scarcity of forex for fuel importation

Kunle Kalejaye 06 July 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos  – Despite last month’s introduction of the flexible exchange rate policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, oil marketers in the country are lamenting their inability to access funds that would enable them import petroleum products.

IPMAN-fuel pumpChief Executive Officer of Genesis World Shipping Company and Managing Director Integrated Oil and Gas Company, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, who stated this during the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Petroleum Downstream Group’s second business clinic, said several attempts made by oil marketers to purchase foreign exchange during bid sessions had proven abortive.

“There are many reasons why marketers are not importing. One is that the forex are not available because we have been trying for two to three weeks now to get forex but without success. During the first bid session, we did not make it, at the subsequent inter-bank session, the story just continued to change but the point is that we never just saw the money,” Iheanacho said.

He added: “Even with the floating exchange rate in place, marketers are having difficulties sourcing for forex. It is difficult because the very first time money was given out, I think it was 10 day ago, they said that those that have gotten can go to the inter bank and buy and sell, but it just didn’t materialise because when marketers go, they don’t buy, if they buy, they buy only one million.”

By implication, the Integrated boss said, marketers have not been able to bring in products on their own account, stating that the most marketers have done in the interval is to depend on the supply the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is putting out in the market.

“Remember that the NNPC has access to a large volume of products but the NNPC does not have the infrastructure to distribute it. So, it is like a co-operative effort whereby the NNPC brings in the product, marketers go to NNPC to get allocation. So that is how the product has been reaching the market,” he said.

Prior to the scarcity of foreign exchange and the introduction of the flexible exchange rate, Iheanacho said oil marketers used credit line from the banks to import petroleum products, but added that things are so tough that priority is given to people who have cash to back their imports.

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