The Central Bank of Nigeria has released foreign exchange to oil marketers to enable them to import petroleum products into Nigeria.
According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the release of forex to marketers is in response to the repeated requests made by the oil dealers for this purpose.
Although the corporation did not state the actual amount released to the marketers by the CBN, it noted that the development would further ensure availability of petroleum products across the country.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, told our correspondent on Sunday in Abuja that the marketers had confirmed receipt of the forex and were in the best position to state the amount released to them by the apex bank.
Earlier this month, three major oil marketers’ associations in Nigeria met with the NNPC, Petroleum Equalisation Fund and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency to express their willingness to resume importation of petroleum products, especially petrol.
The groups that met with the government agencies at the Abuja headquarters of the NNPC were the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.
For several months, the NNPC had remained the major importer of petrol because of the inability of the oil marketers to access foreign exchange at affordable rates.
The NNPC in its December 2016 financial and operation report stated that in spite of the liberalisation of the downstream sector and government’s intervention to ease marketers’ access to foreign exchange for products’ importation, the corporation remained the major importer of petroleum products.
Ughamadu explained that the forex released to marketers was for the importation of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) and Aviation Turbine Kerosene (jet fuel).
He further stated that the corporation would continue to import the AGO and the ATK to supplement local refining.
When contacted for confirmation, the Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, failed to answer calls made to his telephone.
He also had not responded to a text message sent to his phone as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the NNPC in a statement announced that it had in stock an inland supply of over 1.2 billion litres of petrol sufficient for more than 34 days forward consumption.
It stated that its product supply outlook for March to May, 2017 showed that steps had been taken to ensure adequate supply of diesel and aviation fuel.
It said it had re-inaugurated its strategic 479.2km System 2B petroleum products pipeline network stretching from the Atlas Cove-Mosimi-Ejigbo-Ibadan and terminating in Ilorin.
This, it said, would enhance effective distribution of petroleum products nationwide, especially with the envisaged resumption of loading activities at Mosimi, Ejigbo and Ibadan depots.
“The Calabar and Aba depots have been stocked with the AGO while the AGO load-out at Kano depot will commence soon,” the NNPC said.