The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has urged the Federal Government to grant its members license to import petroleum after the deregulation of the sector.
This call was made on Sunday by the IPMAN National Public Relations Officer, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, during a press briefing in Lagos.
Although he identified the lack of the United States dollar as a challenge, the IPMAN official also argued that the government should allow marketers access the foreign exchange the same way it was being accessed by the NNPCL.
“The NNPCL is importing and has not given people the opportunity to join them in importing, so as to see whether private sector operators can import the product cheaper or not. So there is no competition. In a deregulated regime, there must be competition, everyone with capacity should be allowed to import,” Ukadike stated.
When asked whether other marketers would now resume imports since the government had finally deregulated petrol price, Ukadike replied, “Marketers can import, but let me tell you some of the factors militating against this. The first is that there won’t be availability of dollars.
“You will source your dollar from the parallel market and if you are not careful in doing this, and you go into the importation of petroleum products, you might not come out of it alive at the end of the day.
“So what we are saying is that those advantages that NNPCL has, should be shared with other major importers of petroleum products. If it is through crude buy-back, they should let us know, so that independent players such as IPMAN members, can gather to pay and be able to use it in the buy-back model.
On whether this was possible, he said, “If it is not possible, what are the incentives the government is giving to us to boost petroleum products imports and drive competition?
“For independent marketers, the most important thing is that there should be availability of petroleum products, and the government should open up the space for importers and investors to come in.”