Petrol marketers face fresh hurdles over $950m debt

Uncertainty is looming over the supply of petroleum products for local consumption in the country as some banks overseas have suspended short and medium-term credit lines to their Nigerian counterparts due to the inability of marketers to pay matured foreign currency obligations of over $950 million, The Guardian reports.

It was discovered that unless the Federal Government intervened in the payment of the money, marketers would have no choice but to continue to rely on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for supply which they have always claimed to be inadequate. This has led to fears that, should NNPC face any difficulties in fuel importation, the country may encounter another round of scarcity of petroleum products.

Speaking on the current challenges facing the downstream sector at a forum organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce (LCCI), Petroleum Downstream Group, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Integrated Oil and Gas, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, also confirmed that in spite of the various reform measures in the downstream sector, nothing could work effectively unless marketers had ready access to foreign exchange within a well-defined, well-organised market. He also stressed the need for the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) to reduce its involvement in the trade and to gear itself to intervene only occasionally with stabilising supply volumes.

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