The President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okoronkwo, says members have started buying Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, at N108 ex-depot price as announced by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Okoronkwo made this known in an Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday.
NAN recalls that NNPC had on May 6 announced a reduction in the ex-depot price of PMS from N113.28k per litre to N108.00k per litre across all its products loading facilities.
Ex-depot price is the price at which the depot owners sell the commodity to retail outlets across the country.
Okoronkwo said the development was welcomed and seen as a partial deregulation of the downstream oil sector.
He said: “We have started getting the product at the ex-depot price of N108 as announced by the NNPC.
“It is a welcome development, but it is not that exciting because it looks more like you will buy products high and sell cheaper.
“The new price is only good for those buying in high volumes.”
Okoronkwo noted though that the price of PMS had gone down, adding that if it goes up in the global market, it would also go up in the country.
According to him, the marketers are currently planning to start importation of petroleum products in the country and that if the sector is properly deregulated, it will help to drive price of the product.
“When the market opens, marketers will go and buy products and come home and sell,” he said.
The IPMAN president said the current development had brought to fore the need to revamp the nation’s refineries to boost local refining capacity.
He called for investments in construction of modular refineries, urging the Federal Government to ensure that the three major refineries in the country were rehabilitated.
However, the National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Dr. Billy Gillis-Harry, said their members were still buying the product at the old price of N113.
Gillis-Harry said: “First, N108 per litre had been announced by the PPMC as ex-depot price; we have the communication both from the PPMC and the PPPRA.
“But the reality is that there is no implementation of that as it is today.
“Our members have been loading from the refineries at the last price, which is about N113 per litre.
“The idea was that they are going to do a credit note back to marketers.
“Right now, that has not been implemented.
“The normal thing is to do credit note back to marketers.”
Gilly-Harry said the association was also advised by PPMC on May 7 to send back old forms for the purchase of products
He said: “You know marketers, what we do is that sometimes we buy up to 10, 20 trucks ahead.
“Now, those ones have been locked up there, we have not loaded.
“Basically, when the forms are returned, they would be regularised to the current N108 or whatever it is.
“But right now, that has not been done.”
Gilly-Harry noted that after the new ex-depot price, the PPPRA had not issued a band at which marketers could sell the pump price.
He said: “Normally, they give a lower band, say N123 per litre and a higher band, say N125.
“That has not been done.
“And in my capacity as the national president of PETROAN, I am reaching out to marketers, our members, to try to reach out to the authorities to be able to know exactly what the scenario is.
“That is the reality.
“We today will assume that there is some level of partial deregulation by this process.”
It will be recalled that the PPPRA said it would be releasing monthly petroleum products price modulation that would reflect the global market fundamentals.
Gillis-Harry also said that marketers in the nearest future might venture into importation.
He said: “We form highest base of clients for petroleum ex-depot purchases.
“This is because it is our members that form IPMAN, major marketers, NNPC Retails outlets.
“If we do not have products from NNPC, we would fall back to DAPPMA members.
“If DAPPMA members are not readily available, our members would not starve the public of our essential services.
“So, the chances of us pulling our resources together to bring in cargo from time to time until a designated time frame for onward distribution to our members directly would not be ruled out.
“We are already getting to that.
“We are already talking to consortium of banks.
“We are talking to foreign partners to be sure that we have the right marketing prices and to be sure that the Nigerian public is not starved at anytime of petroleum products.”
NAN reports that the NNPC had been the sole importer of petroleum products in country since 2016.