The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) said Thursday it is no longer the sole supplier of petroleum products in the country.
The NNPCL posted this via its verified Twitter handle on Thursday.
The announcement came after the Nigerian regulatory agency said it is fast-tracking the process of issuing oil marketers licenses to import petroleum products.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) had on Wednesday said petroleum marketers will from July this year start the importation of petroleum products into the country.
The agency’s Chief Executive, Farouk Ahmed, who disclosed this while addressing journalists shortly after a meeting with oil marketers on Wednesday, said NNPCL was the sole importer of petroleum motor spirit (PMS) in the past.
But with the advent of the removal of subsidy on that product, Mr Ahmed said it is necessary to open the way to other interested parties that want to import so long as they meet the requirements and the regulations of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
He explained that NNPCL had agreed to reduce its petrol import volume to give room for other players in the industry, and any marketer licensed to import petroleum products must comply with set guidelines.
Mr Ahmed said NNPCL is going to be drawing down on their importation from being the sole importer to bringing in about 30 – 40 per cent maximum in line with the provision of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) regulation which says that nobody should exceed 40 per cent of the market share.
“The importing market is already open. We have to follow the regulations so we roll out very user-friendly policies. Some of them (marketers) have already started putting their applications in place because we don’t want to create a gap,” Mr Ahmed said.
“We are processing licenses. Already, three oil marketers will from July this year start importing petroleum products into the country. So these are some of the very interesting things that we have received.”
President Bola Tinubu had, in his inaugural address on 29 May, announced the removal of fuel subsidy—the stance he had also maintained in his campaign as a candidate during the election.
Following the announcement, the NNPCL directed its outlets nationwide to sell fuel between N480 and N570 per litre, an almost 200 per cent increase from the initial price below N200.
The hike immediately triggered an increase in transportation fares and prices of goods and services by various percentages.
Last Monday, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said they would no longer proceed with the nationwide strike planned for Wednesday.
The decision came after a meeting between the federal government and the labour unions at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Nigerian government has repeatedly said the subsidy on petrol was unsustainable due to the amount spent. Over N4 trillion was used to subsidise petrol last year, more than the government spent on education and healthcare combined.
This year, the immediate past government of Muhammadu Buhari only provided budgetary allocation for petrol subsidy until 30 June after saying it would leave the incoming administration to make a final decision on the matter.
Critics of the fuel subsidy removal argue that it will further weaken the purchasing power of Nigerians and impoverish more citizens in a country where almost half of the population is poor.
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