The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has met with oil marketers to resolve the challenges of importing and distributing petroleum products.
NMDPRA chief executive Farouk Ahmed hosted the meeting on Monday in Abuja.
It featured representatives of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd. and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
The Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, among other stakeholders, were also represented at the meeting.
The meeting was necessitated by challenges faced by oil marketers, ranging from foreign exchange scarcity for importation of petroleum products, deplorable roads nationwide, non-functional refineries and refusal of banks to provide loans.
While speaking to the journalists shortly after the meeting, Mr Ahmed said the meeting tackled issues surrounding the seamless distribution of petroleum products and the way forward.
He said that based on the discussion, the oil marketers solicited the authority’s support to ensure the federal government guarantees the availability of petroleum products at affordable prices.
We have given them access to all the required support that they needed in order to ensure there is a constant supply of products in the country.
Mr Ahmed explained, “We had very robust discussions, and the oil marketers expressed their concerns and also areas where we can support both the marketers and transporters to ensure that there is flow of petrol products across the country.
“NNPC Limited has assured of supply, and also the marketers have expressed their concerns about the availability of foreign exchange in order to also import and sell. As regulators, we can continue to say the market is open for everybody and all those who have applied for a licence, over 90 marketing companies have gotten.”
He added, “We have given them access to all the required support that they needed in order to ensure there is a constant supply of products in the country.”
On the foreign exchange challenges faced by marketers, Mr Ahmed explained that engagement had been ongoing with the Central Bank of Nigeria in that direction to make the dollar available.
“We are all working towards stabilising the naira,” he said.
Dapo Segun, executive vice-president of Upstream, NNPC Ltd., assured of the commitment of the national oil company to make petroleum products available to Nigerians.
Mr Segun said the company would continue to shop for supply, disclosing that “we are looking at ways to resolve these issues. We at NNPC will continue to make sure that supply is there and we will also support the industry.”
DAPPMAN chair Winifred Akpani also assured of an adequate supply of the products and said Nigerians should not panic.
“The government has promised to resolve some of the issues for us, bearing in mind that we just transited from a regulated market to a deregulated market,” stated Ms Akpani. “We expect some of these issues to come, but the most important thing is the willingness of all of us as stakeholders to resolve the problem.” (NAN)