By Ikenna Omeje
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) has said that no member of the association has accessed foreign exchange at N305/USD$1 since October 2017.
This is coming on the heels of the allegation attributed to the immediate past Chief Operating Officer (COO), Downstream of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Henry Ikem- Obih, that petroleum marketers accessed foreign exchange at N305/USD1 for the importation of petrol.
In a statement sent to Nigerian NewsDirect, the marketers noted that it is true that the immediate past NNPC leadership provided foreign exchange for them to import Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) and Automative Gas Oil (AGO) at N330/$1 or N346/$1, but at no time did they access foreign exchange at N N305/$1 as claimed by Ikem-Obih.
According to the statement, marketers stopped importation of petroleum products in the last quarter of 2017 because of the rising cost of crude price in the international market and inability to access foreign exchange, which led to the fuel scarcity the country experienced in December 2017 and far into 2018.
The marketers also denied receiving $7.2 bn as claimed by the NNPC chief and asked the Corporation to give more clarification on the said money, adding that even the directive by President Muhammad Buhari to Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NEMASA) to accept payment for fuel laden vessels in local naira based on N305/$1 was not implemented.
However, the marketers expressed willingness to continue to work with the Federal Government and its agencies towards creating an enabling environment for the industry players in the interest of the country’s development.
The statement read: “We have read the comments purportedly attributed to the out-going Chief Operating Officer, Downstream of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih, on the exchange rate at which petroleum marketers allegedly accessed US dollars for the importation of petrol and seek to clarify thus:
“It is true that at various instances within the lifespan of the immediate past management of the NNPC, marketers were offered foreign exchange to import aviation fuel (ATK) and diesel (AGO) at N330/$1 or N346/$1 but no marketer accessed forex at N305/$1 as claimed and at no time did foreign exchange sourced for fuel importation by petroleum marketers through NNPC-intervention sum up to $7.2bn.
“DAPPMAN Members and indeed all petroleum marketers ceased to import petrol before the 4thquarter of 2017 largely due to rising cost of crude oil in the international market and marketers’ inability to access foreign exchange at the official CBN rate; this precipitated the fuel scarcity the nation experienced in December 2017 and far into 2018.
“NNPC at that time and till date, assumed the responsibility of the importer of last resort because it is the only corporation that can access the foreign exchange proceeds of crude oil exporters and utilizes same to import PMS at the official Central Bank rate and thereafter sell to petroleum marketers.
“The USD$7.2bn purportedly applied for and received by petroleum marketers, as claimed by the NNPC chieftain, was not accessed by members of DAPPMAN who by the spread of our business would have extended supplies to all corners of the nation hence NNPC may need to further expatiate on the comment.
“We dare say even the presidential directives to the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, to receive payments on fuel laden vessels in the local naira currency from petroleum marketers based on the N305/$1, which the Central Bank assured that it would provide, was never implemented by the federal agencies for reasons best known to them.
“Petroleum marketers within the fold of DAPPMAN would continue to engage the Federal Government and its agencies on the need to create an even playing field for all industry practitioners for the development of the nation’s economy and advancement of the nation.”