In a promising development for Nigerian consumers, major oil marketers have announced the imminent arrival of large consignments of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, which are expected to hit the country from next week.
This influx of imports is anticipated to bring down the price of petrol, according to both major and independent dealers.
The recent unification of Nigeria’s exchange rate has instilled confidence among operators, prompting crude oil refiners to release refined petroleum products on credit to dealers within the country.
This move aims to support the market and encourage increased importation of petrol by various stakeholders.
Prior to President Bola Tinubu’s removal of petrol subsidies, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) held a monopoly on petrol imports, as other marketers faced challenges accessing the United States dollar.
The preferential exchange rate enjoyed by the NNPCL was seen as unfair and discouraged other dealers from importing petrol.
However, with the exchange rate now unified, oil marketers have seized the opportunity to participate in the importation of petrol. Major marketers have confirmed that the products are expected to arrive in Nigeria between the second and third week of July.
Clement Isong, the Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, emphasized the efforts made by the NNPCL to prevent fuel shortages by importing a significant volume of petrol.
“Let me say that NNPCL has imported significantly to prevent the country from running dry. The vessels NNPCL imported are offshore Nigeria, so they have a significant volume, therefore in all circumstances the country will not run dry.
“So the options everybody has is that they can buy from NNPCL ex-depots or they can go and import from Europe or from other places. The assignment is that you compare your price if you buy from NNPCL or import from Europe.
“More or less, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. So do your calculation as the best as you can. But you will only know the full impact when the product is in your tank. If it goes right, it is then that you will know how competitive your price is. The more you do it, the more efficient you become,” Isong stated.
In line with the deregulation of the sector, private depot owners have already begun reducing the cost of petrol, offering prices lower than those set by the NNPCL.
Mohammed Shuaibu, the Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in Abuja-Suleja, affirmed that as more products from different marketers enter the market, petrol prices are bound to decrease due to market forces.
“The sector has been deregulated and, of course, if you have the power you will go and import. It is not going to be only the major marketers, independent marketers are also picking interest and there will be competition.
“And, of course, I know that sooner than later, the price of petrol will be forced down, particularly once the products from marketers start hitting the country from next week. This is because market forces will now determine the price.
“It is not going to be solely imported by NNPCL again, for instance, this week, the private depots reduced their prices, different from what NNPCL is selling. So there is a reduction lower than what NNPC is selling,” he stated.
Adding to the positive outlook, Farouk Ahmed, the Chief Executive of the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, announced that newly licensed petrol importers were also expecting their cargoes to arrive in July.
With the impending arrival of major petrol imports and the rise in competition among marketers, Nigerians can look forward to the potential relief of lower petrol prices in the near future.
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