The NNPC defended the statement by making reference to the unstable foreign exchange market.
The corporation’s comments were made by Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing, NNPC, Mele Kyari at the Oil Trading and Logistics Expo in Lagos.
“We have a very difficult business environment. It is impossible today to import products at the current market price, at current fixed foreign exchange, FOREX rate,” Kyari said.
“There is no way today you can take products to retailers and sell at N145. It is not possible. If that is true and I believe that it is, because we all go to the market. Why can’t we sell above N145? That is where legislation should come in.
“I also know today that it is impossible for this government to announce tomorrow that petrol is about N150. This government cannot sustain it. That is the truth. The people will not accept that figure.
“That is why suppliers are not importing. It is not FX. We have created a niche market for the FX. I am part of the committee allocating FX. We gave FX. It was rejected. The reason being given is that FX is not enough to import. But that is not true.
“The truth is that marketers go back to the market and land it here, that you are required to sell it at N145 maximum. I am sure they won’t make it. We won’t let you do it today. That is the main reason people are not importing today. It is not FX.
“Today, we are in subsidy regime, absolutely. There is no way you bring product today and sell at N145 and get back your money, and make profit. That is not possible. You can see some marketers saying that fuel is N138. It is because they did not import.
“Somebody has taken the heat off the price. Because we (NNPC) have taken the heat, and you buy from us; you can afford to go to the market and then put a ridiculous price,” he added.
However, petroleum marketers are agitating for the price of fuel to be increased to N151 per litre, according to more reports.
They said the current price of N145 is not realistic because of the challenges in getting foreign currency, adding that the real cost of fuel should be N151.87k.