27 October 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday disclosed that a new window had been opened for petroleum product marketers to access foreign exchange (forex) to enable them import fuel.
The Corporation also denied any plan to further hike the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, stating that current realities do not support any price increase.
The group general manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Muhammad Garba-Deen, disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday.
Speaking on the plan to assist oil marketers have access to forex, he said, “A new window to make forex available for them for their importation needs has been opened and they are satisfied with it. We have fulfilled our own side of the bargain; we are waiting for them to deliver on their own promises.”
Garba-Deen explained further that the issue of forex was related to the international oil price increase, stressing that the Corporation already had a long term procurement contract and would not be affected by that in the nearest future.
According to him, all possible loopholes that would lead to shortage of supply had been adequately addressed.
“The possibility that there is going to be any shortage does not even exist, not now and not in the nearest future. People should relax; there is no need to panic.
“As of this moment, there is absolutely no plan to do that and no need for that, because we have more than enough supply. We have very robust stock of product in our custody. In addition to that, we also have long term procurement contract with our suppliers,” Garba-Deen stated.
On the state of local refineries, he said they were back and working. According to him, the Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries had been producing.
He however pointed out that challenges would always come because the refineries had been working for a long time, and noted that long term repairs were also in the making.
“You know about the plans to co-locate some new refineries within the existing ones and upgrade these ones. By the time these ones are done, which would probably be by 2018, then, the refineries would be producing at optimal capacity. Now it is an on and off thing; they are producing, but not to the capacity that is expected,” he stated.
On the purported fuel hike attributed to the group’s general manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Mr Mele Kyari, who spoke at a conference in Lagos, Garba-Deen, clarified the statement, saying it did not refer to downstream operations.
He said, “I’ve read the report. The statement was made within the context of technical people. Regardless of what we are saying, the bottom-line is that there is absolutely no plan, whatsoever, by government to increase fuel price above the N145 maximum level.
“If there is going to be anything like that, the agency responsible for fixing the price of petrol, the PPPRA, would definitely sensitise Nigerians on it and give reasons for it.
“The reality is that there is absolutely no plan to increase fuel price. There is no shortage and there is no possibility of shortage in the nearest future.”