A government official described it as “a stab in the back” – as another fuel crisis looms.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had been the sole importer of PMS but a crippling crisis ensued as the corporation could not get enough foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the official rate of N197/$1.
The corporation was also overwhelmed by the volume of importation.
To resolve the crisis, marketers – who stopped importing petrol in the last quarter of 2015, blaming lack of policy clarity – were invited to a round-table by the federal government.
“We reached a number of agreements. One, they would source for forex from the secondary market. Two, the pump price would be adjusted upward to allow them recover without subsidy,” he said.
“In reaching the agreement to increase the price from N86.50 to a maximum of N145 per litre, we worked with a rate of N300 to $1, although the interbank rate is N285, and that is the secondary market where they were to source forex.
“We also agreed to clear subsidy arrears running into about N50 billion, which had been outstanding since 2015. All agreed, and government went ahead to announce the price increase.
“We also paid the subsidy arrears. All of a sudden, the marketers started saying they needed forex from the CBN again. They are yet to resume importation, and what the NNPC has in stock cannot last the distance.”
While members of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DPPMAN) would want the federal government to make forex available for them to import petroleum products, TheCable understands that members of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) are more disposed to the introduction of a second window of forex rather than seeking the hard currency from CBN.
The CBN has already hinted about the introduction of a secondary window, where autonomous sources of foreign exchange will channel their funds and trade at a rate closer to market realities.
While the official rate is N197-N200, interbank is N285 and black market is averagely N345.