The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) today rolled out a fresh guideline to regulate the importation of petroleum products into the country.
Executive Secretary of the regulatory agency, Reginald Stanley, who read out the guidelines during a meeting with downstream petroleum sector operators in Abuja, said all stakeholders are expected to conduct their businesses in compliance with global best practices.
According to the new guideline, allocation of import permit to importers will henceforth be based on performance and capability; import licenses will be only be issued to oil marketing companies owning depots with the capacity to store products for distribution, while importers are only allowed specific time frame for discharge of petroleum products.
Besides, oil marketers granted permit for the third quarter, but are unable to meet their importation obligations are expected to take steps to do so before the end of the year or forfeit the permits.
According to the PPPRA boss, an International independent cargo inspectors system would be introduced and charged with the inspection of every cargo of petroleum products imported into the country to ensure efficiency and transparency.
“We have also established a three-tier inspection system that would take cognizance of the arrival of imported fuel volume at the port, the discharge volume and the truck out volume; enforcement of daily opening and closing stock of all the terminals as well as chain all premium motor spirit (PMS) in-let discharge valves after completion of discharges, while the valves can only be opened when the next cargo arrives,” he said.
He said the number of companies that have been granted permits to import petroleum products have been pruned down from over 100 announced recently by the National Assembly to only 42 of the independent and major operators that have facilities to store petroleum products and are licensed by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Hee lamented that the agency lacks personnel to handle the process of documentation of fuel importation programme, a situation he says has always resulted in delays beyond the 45 days payment cycle as mandated by the Petroleum Support fund (PSF) scheme. Mr Stanley said steps are however being taken to strengthen the field operations of the PPPRA to ensure effective service delivery.
He said the PPPRA would not hesitate to sanction any importer found to have defaulted in its import obligations, as government was committed to ensuring the delivery of the highest quality of service to the people in line with acceptable international best practice.
“PSF has a cycle of 45 days from the time the documents are filed to when payment is made. But, we have been experiencing slippages between PPPRA, Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office (DMO) in the process to track documents to the final points. We will ensure that the 45 days cycle is maintained,” he assured.
On the stock of fuel in the country, he said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at the moment has a healthy reserve at its storage depots nationwide.