The federal government has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to resume the collection of freight charges in naira denominated invoices for excess capacity for coastal movement of petroleum products, using the Import and Export (I&E) window rate for the time being.
It also directed petroleum marketers to revert to the official depot price for the sale of petrol nationwide.
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The directive is coming barely 24 after a Daily Trust report on the refusal of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to collect freight and port charges in naira as alleged by petroleum marketers.
The federal government had in 2018 directed both agencies to collect freight and port charges in naira but marketers, especially depot owners insisted that the port agencies are flouting the Presidency directive that freight charges be collected in naira and not in dollars.
Although NNPC Limited is now the sole importer of petroleum products, a marketer who spoke under anonymity said the NNPC has some dollar components in their charges when they hire vessels from them.
“The port levy paid by these vessel and depot owners is what is in dollars and as long as the naira-dollar exchange continues to rise, there will be a gap in the price of fuel at the wholesale end from the depots, especially at a time when the sector is being deregulated with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA),” said another oil depot operator.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) placed the increase at the depot at N9 per litre and said some members can’t afford to restock as the product rose from N148 to N155 per litre in late October.
In separate reactions, NIMASA and NAP both denied getting such a directive even as NIMASA said its three per cent levy (in dollar) had nothing to do with the high cost of petroleum products.
But rising from a meeting yesterday in Lagos to address claims of a possible fuel scarcity, the government assured the supply of sufficient Premium Motor Spirit PMS across the country.
The close door meeting held in Lagos was attended by representative from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), NIMASA, NPA, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), on the assurance of Petroleum products supply.
Reading the ccommunique which was issued at the end of the meeting, the Chief Executive of NMDPRA, Engr. Farouk Ahmed, stated that NIMASA and NPA are now to engage their supervising Ministry and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to seek ways of addressing the challenges relating to payment of the said levies in US Dollar.
He said: “NMDPRA to engage Stakeholders on the reconciliation of bridging claims. The current bridging and administrative charges shall continue to apply.
“Marketers/depot owners are to start charging the official ex-depot price immediately.
“NMDPRA will engage stakeholders within the first quarter of 2022 on the implementation guidelines and timelines of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021. All Stakeholders agreed to collaborate to ensure smooth and sufficient supply and distribution of petroleum products to all parts of the country.
“MOMAN and DAPPMAN are to immediately communicate this resolution to marketers,” the communique stated.