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Petrol imports tumble 72.65% as COVID-19 hits demand - PUNCH

AUGUST 12, 2020

BY  ’Femi Asu

Amid the general gloom that the economy has suffered as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the volume of petrol imported into the country in May plummeted by 72.65 per cent, the latest data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have shown.

From a high of 2.25 billion litres in March this year, the volume of petrol imported into the country through the Direct Sale Direct Purchase scheme fell to 1.81 billion litres in April and 495.10 million litres in May.

Under the DSDP scheme, selected overseas refiners, trading companies and indigenous companies are allocated crude supplies in exchange for the delivery of an equal value of petrol and other refined products to the NNPC.

Until recently, the corporation was the sole importer of petrol into the country for more than two years, after private oil marketers stopped importing the commodity in 2017 due to crude price fluctuations, among other issues.

The average daily supply of the product stood at 15.97 million litres in May, down from 60.43 million litres in April and 72.59 million litres in March, according to the NNPC data.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.

The refineries, located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day but have continued to operate far below the installed capacity.

“No white product (PMS and Dual Purpose Kerosene) was produced in May 2020 and apparently for the past eleven consecutive months. The lack of production is due to ongoing rehabilitation works at the refineries,” the NNPC said in the report.

It said, “A total of 950.67 million litres of white products were sold and distributed by PPMC in the month of May 2020 compared with 990.17 million litres in the month of April 2020. This comprised 950.67 million litres of PMS only with no Automotive Gas Oil or DPK.”

“Also, there was no sale of special product in the month. Total sale of white products for the period of May 2019 to May 2020 stood at 19.87 billion litres and PMS accounted for 19.70 billion litres or 99.19 per cent.”

The Head, Economic Intelligence Research and Regulation, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria Ogechi Nkwoji, told our correspondent that the average volume of petrol sold by major marketers rose by 0.66 per cent in March but dropped by 52 per cent in April.

The Federal Government imposed a lockdown on the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states on March 30 but a gradual easing of the lockdown began on May 4.

Nkwoji said the average volumes of petrol rose by 32 per cent and 35.11 per cent in May and June respectively.

The NNPC said a total sum of N92.58bn was made on the sale of white products by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company in May, compared to N107.61bn sales in April.

The PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, is principally engaged in the supply and marketing of refined petroleum products to the marketers/retailers on behalf of the corporation.

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