By Michael Eboh

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, blamed foreign exchange challenges and prevailing uncertainty for the inability of oil marketers to resume fuel import.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Mr. Saidu Abdulkadir, explained that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, had been the one announcing the price of petrol over the last few months, because it was within its rights to do so, as one of the oil marketers and a major supplier of the commodity.

Abdulkadir, who was represented by the General Manager, Administration, and Human Resources of the PPPRA, Mr. Victor Shidok, stated that because of the difficulties in accessing foreign exchange by oil marketers, the PPMC is currently the sole importer of the commodity into the country, and announces the prices at which it sells the commodity to oil marketers.

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“You know the role that foreign exchange plays with the sourcing of PMS. When you are not producing and earning foreign exchange as you ought to do, then there would be pressure on the little that you have. That is why you see the galloping foreign exchange. We did not expect it would remain like that forever; that is why the government is doing all it can and in the near future, we would begin to see an improvement in the value of the naira.

“Secondly, we believe marketers are still studying the market before they come in fully to resume fuel import. There is also skepticism whenever a new policy is being put up. We do not envisage that the exchange rate would remain at the rate at which it currently is,” he assured.

The PPPRA boss also explained that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, is not directly correlated with the crude oil price, adding that a number of other factors are responsible for the price of the commodity.

He noted that the government had agreed that henceforth, the price of petrol in the Nigerian market would be determined by market forces, adding that the PPMC, just like other marketers and importers would continue to determine the prices at which they would sell to their customers.

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However, he stated that the PPPRA would continue to remain relevant irrespective of the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector, adding that it would continue to regulate the sector, and stipulate codes of conduct within which marketers must operate by.

He said: “With the government’s pronouncement that he sector is deregulated means that prices would strictly be based on the forces of demand and supply. You can have a regulator that always serves as a watchdog to see how these forces are being played out; how the interests of all operators and consumers are taken care of.

“It is a market that is open, based on bargaining power and based on where you source your product. PPMC is a marketer; it also sells the product and also carries out the analysis as to the price it wants to sell the products to its customers. That is the announcement they always make after doing an analysis of their cost and analyzing their margins.”

Vanguard