What looks like a serious row is brewing in the downstream oil sector with major oil marketers threatening total withdrawal of supply unless the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) reverses its current policy on fuel importation.
They allege that the 2016 policy, has seen opeartors losing more than 70 per cent of petroleum products that they imported in the country in 2016.
With the removal of subsidy in 2016, NNPC promised to increase its stock, especially during the various religious festivals to avert scarcity and is yet to restore the importation quota for the importers.
But a coalition of the oil marketers said the corporation had schemed them out of business through the method.
A spokesman of the group and a director with MRS Oil, Bernard Ujoyibo, alleged that there had been a deliberate move by the authorities to scheme out the operators on the excuse that restoring full importation status to the marketers would bring back long queues to filling stations.
“Before September 2016, the marketers used to have 80 per cent of the products, as at October 2017, we had only 20 per cent import, which had further come down to between 15 and 10 per cent, depending on the product.”
He said this is despite assurance to NNPC and its subsidiaries that the dealers were capable of meeting Nigeria’s consumption of petroleum products, with government support to source dollar.
The marketers said,”If this anti investment policy is not reversed, there will be a total withdrawal of our services any time we can no longer bear the losses being suffered.”
In its reaction the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers’ Association (DAPPMA) said its members would support the marketers in protecting business interests of investors in the sector.
But an aide to to the NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, denied any deliberate policy to deny marketers their business rights, adding that the measures put in place by the corporation were temporary, and subject to be reviewed as soon as possible.
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