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Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alison-Madueke
The Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency has given approvals to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, oil marketers and other fuel importers, to import four billion litres of petrol for domestic consumption in the second quarter of the year.

The NNPC is expected to do half of the importation while the other parties would do the other 50 per cent.

The importation is being done under the Petroleum Support Fund arrangement

A top source in the PPPRA told our correspondent that the quantity approved would be more than enough for domestic consumption during the period.

'We have deliberately ordered for more than what is needed to create reserves,' the source added.

According to the PPPRA figures, the nation consumes about 35 million litres of petrol per day and this amounts to 1.085 billion litres per month and 3.25 billion litres per quarter.

This means the quantity that has been ordered for this quarter is more than the consumption figure for the period.

The source said that the fact that the nation's refineries had begun to produce would also ensure that enough products were available during the period.

Also, the Debt Management Office under the Ministry of Finance, will manage the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes to fuel importers for payment for petroleum products imported under the PSF.

This will ensure that the debt is paid within 45 days stipulated under the PSF arrangement, a source close to the Presidency told our correspondent.

According to him, 'When products are imported, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Department of Petroleum Resources, auditors from the Ministry of Finance and PPPRA officials, will verify that the products have arrived.

'After that, the marketers will file claims for payment to the PPPRA, following which the PPPRA will issue a Sovereign Debt Statement to the marketer or importer and copy the Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office.

'After this, the marketer will go to the DMO for the issuance of the Sovereign Debt Note. After the issuance of the DMO, the Central Bank of Nigeria is bound to effect the payment within 45 days stipulated in the SDN.'

The source said that the process was commencing very soon and that it explained the recent interest being shown by many oil marketers in participating in the importation processs.

The Punch had exclusively reported that the Federal Government had spent N26bn so far on fuel subsidy this year.

It was also reported that the national petrol consumption had risen from 32 million litres per day to 35 million litres per day.

Our correspondent gathered that there was a lot of jostling among marketers now to import products with the assurance of payment within 45 days.

Between last year and early this year, the marketers had withdrawn from product importation owing to frequent delays in the payment of subsidy claims to them by the Federal Government.

At some point in time, the banks were also asking for bonds from the Central Bank of Nigeria before they would give credit lines to marketers to import petroleum products.

However, the decision of the Federal Government to issue SNDs through the DMO,is said to have resolved all the issues arround prompt payment of the claims.

Our correspondent gathered that many oil marketers had shown interest in importing products in the second quarter of the year because of this development, which has led to bickering among them.