Oil marketers have criticised the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited dominance in petrol importation, stating that it violates the Petroleum Industry Act.
They stated this at the post-conference press briefing of the 2023 Expo of the Oil Trading Logistics Africa Downstream Energy Week, in Lagos, recently.
The Chairman of Oil Trading Logistics and CEO of 11 Plc, Tunji Oyebanji, said NNPCL, as the only downstream company supplying petrol to the country, was promoting unhealthy competition, which was prohibited by the PIA,.
“Prices of petrol are still not reflective of true market dynamics. There should be healthy competition throughout the value chain, and all these have been impossible due to NNPCL monopoly,” he said.
Oyebanji maintained that the reason independent marketers had been unable to import petrol was majorly due to the inability to access forex exchange at a competitive rate as the NNPCL.
“Not all oil marketers have access to forex at competitive prices. NNPC has to play by the same rules as other downstream companies. But as of today, NNPC has access to forex because it sells crude oil but we don’t.
“So, you see a situation where NNPCL still dictates the market share others have, because if I for instance, ask for 100 trucks of petrol, and I get 5, then, my market share has been automatically determined by the NNPC. And this is not competition and is unhealthy for the industry,” he maintained.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of OTL, Dr Emeka Akabogu, advocated for the collaboration of all stakeholders.
According to him, the collaborative efforts of industry stakeholders would raise the fortune of the downstream sector.
He added that although the PIA had advocated for the deregulation of the downstream sector and removal of subsidies, the timing was wrong.
“Don’t forget that it took us almost 20 years to achieve passage of the PIA. And despite that the PIA had been passed and subsidies had been removed, however, the industry is still not in the right place because the timing was wrong.
“It was wrong to have removed subsidies on May 29 because at that time, prices of crude at the international market were high and the Federal Government floated the naira. Before May 29, the exchange rate was around 400-500/$1. However, after subsidies were removed, if we decide to implement the PIA, petrol should be selling for N1,000 per litre,’ he said.
Also, the Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Clement Isong, advised FG to create an avenue where marketers would have access to dollars at the official rate.
According to Isong, this would enable consumers to fully benefit from the removal of fuel subsidies.