Marketers suspend fuel imports, await FG’s promise on refineries

Bisola David
Bisola David
Nigeria petrol subsidy nears N1tn

Oil traders have postponed their intentions to import Premium Motor Spirit, more commonly known as petrol, as they eagerly await the start of local production of refined petroleum products by Nigeria’s refineries in December of this year.

According to The Punch, operators in the downstream oil industry claimed that, given the difficulty in obtaining the United States dollar needed for imports, the importation of PMS was no longer a profitable venture.

On Friday, they advised holding off and buying refined petroleum products from nearby facilities because the government had pledged to get the refineries operational by December.

According to the new petroleum minister, by December there would not be a need for imports, which means the refineries will be operational, according to the national president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okonkwo.

The availability is what we are focusing on, and if our crude is refined locally in Nigeria, that will completely change the situation, he continued. Importing (petroleum products) is not the best course of action.

“This is due to the intense push to obtain funds for importing. Therefore, if we abide by what they (the government) have indicated, petrol importation should end by December, and we will have access to goods locally.”

The Federal Government declared that the Port Harcourt refinery would start running by December 2023 around the end of August.

During an inspection visit of the restoration work at the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited plant in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, had made this announcement.

He stated, “From what we have seen here today, Port Harcourt Refinery will come on board by the end of the year, Warri will go live by the end of the first quarter of next year, and Kaduna will also come on board towards the end of next year.

“If you add that to the Dangote Refinery, we will be able to stop fuel importation, and Nigerians will enjoy the full benefits of deregulation.”

Okonkwo claimed that these facilities will not only boost employment but also lower PMS prices.

The president of IPMAN said, “It will lessen reliance on imported goods from other countries. It will also generate employment. Now jobs will be performed in Nigeria instead of being given to other individuals who refine our crude.

“And finally, the logistics or transportation will be softened, and even if the crude will be sold in dollars, one thing is for sure: the cost of transporting it into and out of Nigeria will now be lower.”

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