The Rivers State Chairman of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Francis Dimkpa, has blamed the variation in the price of petrol in Port Harcourt on what he says is an “unequal playing ground” in the petroleum industry.
Mr. Dimkpa explained that most filling stations dispense petrol at different prices due to variations in procurement systems.
Speaking on Nigeria Info’s Morning Crossfire, the Rivers PETROAN chairman stated that the scarcity of foreign exchange for licensed importers to purchase the product is responsible for the unavailability of petrol in sufficient quantity across the country.
Mr. Dimkpa further stated that importers who manage to access foreign exchange sell to retail outlets based on the differentials in the naira to dollar exchange rate, thus resulting in an increase in the price of petrol for end users.
He claims that the federal government exclusively allocates foreign exchange to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), despite the government's declaring the corporation as a private entity, thereby granting it an advantage over other product importers.
Also, Mr. Dimkpa lamented the inability of some PETROAN members to receive delivery of petroleum products from the NNPCL, even after payment had been made over two months. He stressed that this situation also affects fuel prices in the country because importers prefer purchasing from suppliers who deliver on time rather than the NNPCL.
"PETROAN members are going through severe stress in ensuring that we bring petrol to our filling stations” he noted, expressing concern about the rising costs of operating a petrol station.