On Monday, the Federal Government announced that six new companies have been granted permission to import petroleum products into Nigeria. The disclosure was made by Farouk Ahmed, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDRA), during a briefing with state correspondents at the Presidential Villa.
Farouk clarified that in addition to the six approved companies, several others have also submitted applications to obtain permits for petroleum importation in the near future.
Addressing speculations, Ahmed refuted the notion that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) had authorized the Dangote Group to import petroleum, emphasizing that the NNPCL lacks the authority to grant such approvals.
The managing director further highlighted that numerous companies have sought fuel importation permits, emphasizing that the regulatory authority is open to all interested parties who wish to apply for importation and gain access to the port.
Ahmed said, “There are six companies who said they want to import fuel in July. Of course, all the others may import in December in, November, or anytime but for those who expressed interest in bringing in fuel in July, there were six of them as of this morning.
“The beauty of it is that there are interests which means that they have been able to have access to foreign exchange in order to import.
“Now, as we go along, of course, we’ll be briefing you on the progress or the achievements so far, but the important thing is that NNPC has 30 days fuel sufficiency, so we do not anticipate any gap in supply or in distribution.”
In the meantime, President Bola Tinubu has taken measures to prevent ship owners from withdrawing their vessels due to what they perceive as excessive back charges.
Zacchaeus Adedeji, the Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, led a government delegation in an interactive session with shipping stakeholders at the State House. During the meeting, Adedeji emphasized that it is crucial for Nigeria to maintain the movement of vessels into and out of the country.
According to reports, two ship owners had previously stated their intention to keep their vessels away from Nigeria following the issuance of multimillion-dollar tax bills to recover unpaid duties from 2010 to 2019.
After the meeting with stakeholders, Adedeji addressed concerns within the oil and gas sector and outlined the agreement to prevent vessel withdrawals and ensure an uninterrupted flow of products.
The presidential aide reassured that a technical committee has been established to address the disputed issues. He further stated that no vessel would be seized or detained while the committee works towards reconciling the outstanding tax payments.