The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has denied claims that marketers are getting foreign exchange (forex) at N305 to a dollar for importing petrol.
Its Chairman, Mr. Tunji Oyebanji spoke on the sidelines at the just-concluded Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) conference in Abuja.
He said total deregulation of the downstream sub-sector remained the best option.
The Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih had said marketers were given forex intervention schemes at N305 to a dollar, rolled out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and co-managed by the NNPC.
The MOMAN boss said: “I don’t know who is getting it at that N305. If NNPC is giving some marketers at that rate, I want to believe it is not transparent. I don’t know who is getting it.’’
He continued: “If we are getting it N305 for importation of petrol, we will be importing, but we are not getting it. When the scheme started, that was the plan and CBN was the one handling it.
“Eventually, the NNPC took it over and we don’t know who is getting it at N305. So, maybe he can enlighten us by publishing the names of those who are getting it.’’
Oyebanji, who is also the Managing Director of 11Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc), added: ‘’We are not importing petrol at all, but if we want to import Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) or Aviation Turbine Kerosene (aviation fuel), we have to go and buy at N330 or N346.
“You can’t compete because the NNPC is bringing everything at N305; so, it is not a level-playing field at all.
“If we are getting forex at N305, may be we are able to import. But, again, technically, for the country as a whole, does it truly make sense? In the market, dollar is being sold at N360.
“So, what Nigeria should be earning from every dollar it generates should be N360; that’s really the market value. Every time you are selling at N305, you are also subsiding and it’s a loss to the country. We all have to determine what we want to do.’’
The MOMAN chief said there was no alternative for marketers to start importation of petrol until Dangote Refinery came on stream, which might ease supply and reduce fuel importation.
“Marketers can’t import fuel because if the price remains at this level, how can marketers import when the landing cost is more than pump price? For now, only NNPC can absorb that.
“And, indirectly, it’s you and I that are bearing the cost because the money would have been put in other things. We are all used to driving with cheap fuel. That’s what we seem to like.
“The truth of the matter is that, deregulation is not an easy subject because there is obviously political ramification. If it was easy, it would have been done a long time ago,’’ he said.