'We won't import fuel unless CBN provides forex,' Oil marketers tell FG
The marketers said except the CBN provides foreign exchange to import fuel, the recent subsidy payment they received from the government will remain in their naira accounts.
The marketers, under the umbrella of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DPPMAN), are appealing to the Federal Government to assist them in making foreign exchange available.
They made the plea during a meeting at the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance.
The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and attended by Chief Executive Officers of 46 major oil companies in the country.
The agenda was to discuss salient issues affecting the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
Chairman of DAPPMAN, Dapo Abiodun, told the minister that members of the association finding it difficult to convert some of the naira payments made by the government to dollars.
He said their inability to convert these payments from the Federal Government from naira to dollar is making it almost impossible for them to meet their obligations to their foreign partners.
He said while the oil marketers will continue to do their best in importing petroleum products into the country, the unavailability of foreign exchange might make it challenging to achieve such objective.
The Federal Government this week announced that it has paid the oil marketers N48.2 billion minus value added tax as the arrears of outstanding 2015 subsidy claims.
According to Adeosun, the payment is to enable the marketers import petroleum products and meet up their other financial needs.
Abiodun however said except the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) provides foreign exchange to them, the payment will remain in their naira accounts.
He said: “We want to thank you for the recent payment of about N42 billion but we want to emphasise the fact that this naira payment will continue to sit in our banks.
“We look forward to dialoguing with you as to how you can help us expedite the sourcing of foreign exchange to liquidate our exposures to our foreign bankers that we have line of credit with.
“We are very worried about going into a new dynamics in which marketers are now going to be sourcing forex at the rate that they can find, which we have approximated to around N285 to a dollar.
“We believe that it is a quick fix solution to all the epileptic supply of petroleum products in the county.
“However, we still have this naira sitting in our account from previous transactions and we are worried that if anything happens to the rate of exchange officially, we are going to be caught in between.
“We do not want to come back to you to ask for foreign exchange differentials which issue we still have pending from previous transactions.”
Adeosun said the recent subsidy payment released to the oil marketers is one of the liabilities inherited from the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
While expressing optimism that the reforms currently being implemented in the oil sector would restore confidence in the market, she said assured that government will continue to ensure the availability of petroleum products in the county.
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