Business News - As Nigerians struggle with the current economic recession, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Monday reminded the citizens that the sale of petrol normally known as fuel at N145 per litre was no longer feasible with the current price of foreign exchange. The Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing, NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, stated this at this year’s Oil Trading and Logistics Expo, OTL, holding in Lagos. He said: “We have a very difficult business environment.
From the current situation in the country, it is impossible to import products at the current market price, due to the current fixed foreign exchange, FOREX rate. ‘’It has been noted that there is no way today you can take products to retailers and sell at N145. It is now mission impossible. If that is true and I believe that it is, because we all go to the market. Why can’t we sell above N145? That is where legislation should come in and look into the matter.”
Mele, further explained that the current price was not realistic, however, said that any official increase by the government would not go down well with the citizenry as it will be resisted. “I also know today that it is impossible for this government to announce tomorrow that petrol is about N150. The current administration cannot sustain it. That is the blunt truth. The people will not accept that figure. ‘’That is why suppliers are not importing. It is not FX. We have created a niche market for the FX. I am part of the committee allocating FX. We gave FX. It was rejected.
The reason is very clear; FOREX is not enough to import petroleum products. But that is not true. “The truth is that marketers go back to the market and land it here, that you are required to sell it at N145 maximum. I am sure they won’t make it. We won’t let you do it today. That is the main reason people are not importing today. It is not FX,” he added.
Mele stressed in his explanation that Nigeria was still in a subsidy regime, as the NNPC took the bulk of importation to ensure that petrol was sold at the official rate of N145 per litre.
“It is crystal clear that up till today, we are in subsidy regime, absolutely. There is no way you bring product today and sell at N145 and get back your money, and make profit. That is not possible. You can see some marketers saying that fuel is N138. ‘’It is because they did not import. Somebody has taken the heat off the price. Because we (NNPC) have taken the heat, and you buy from us; you can afford to go to the market and then put a ridiculous price.
This is not possible, because they did not import it. It is not FOREX,” he said. Debunking the notion that marketers were constrained by the unavailability of FOREX, he accused them of being reluctant to go for it. He added: “As I speak to you, there is stranded FOREX that nobody is ready to pick up. We have closed the chapter on FOREX.’’