Oil marketers, on Sunday, indicated that the cost of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, would rise to between N680/litre and N720/litre in the coming weeks should the dollar continue to trade from N910 to N950 at the parallel market.
They also hinted that dealers seeking to import PMS were being forced to put the plans on hold due to the scarcity of foreign exchange to import the commodity.
The warning came barely one week after the local currency crossed the N900/dollar ceiling, with the naira selling at over 945/dollar at the parallel market on Friday.
Oil dealers said the CBN Importers and Exporters official window for foreign exchange, which boast of a lower exchange rate of about $740/litre, had remained illiquid and unable to provide the $25m to $30m required for the importation of PMS by dealers.
This, they said, had led to the suspension petrol importation by dealers who were initially eager to import the commodity.
Operators told The PUNCH that the only marketer, Emadeb, who imported the commodity recently, was now finding it tough to recoup its investment due to the depreciation of the naira.
Senior officials of major oil dealers, who spoke to The PUNCH in separate interviews on Sunday, said PMS price hike was imminent unless the local currency appreciates in the coming weeks.
Leaders of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, and Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria said there was a need for the Federal Government to intervene to address the crisis.
The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, explained that the price of petrol was now driven by the fluctuations in forex, hence Nigerians should expect a hike soon.
Asked whether oil marketers were considering an increase in petrol price, he replied, “Once there is a slack in the naira against the dollar, there is going to be an effect. The demand and supply of forex is a key factor. We should also understand that it is not only petroleum products that use forex.
Ukadike stated that oil marketers were still sourcing dollars from the parallel market, as the CBN’s Importers and Exporters official window was illiquid.
The IPMAN PRO also stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited was still the major importer of petrol into Nigeria, though another importer, Emadeb, imported the commodity recently.
SOURCE: PUNCH NEWSPAPER