By Gloria Ume-Uzeoke
The Federal Government, on Monday, said six new companies have received approval to import petroleum products into Nigeria.
The Managing Director of Nigeria Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDRA), Farouk Ahmed made this disclosure to state correspondents at the Presidential Villa.
Farouk stated that apart from the approved six, several companies applied for permit to import petroleum in due course.
Ahmed also debunked insinuation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) had given approval to Dangote Group to import petroleum, saying that the company has no powers to give such approval.
The managing director further noted that there are several companies that applied for fuel importation permit and anyone can apply for importation to get access to the port as the authority is open to all those interested in importing.
Ahmed said, “There are six companies who said they want to import fuel in July. Of course, all the others may import in December in November, or anytime but those who expressed interest to bring in fuel in July there were six of them as of this morning.
“The beauty of it is that there are interests which means that they have been able to have access to foreign exchange in order to import.
“Now, as we go along, of course, we’ll be briefing you on the progress or the achievements so far, but the important thing is that NNPC has 30 days fuel sufficiency, so we do not anticipate any gap in supply or in distribution.”
Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has taken steps to stop ship owners from withdrawing their vessels over what they see as excessive back charges.
The Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, Zacchaeus Adedeji, who led government officials in an interactive session with shipping stakeholders at the State House, warned that Nigeria cannot afford not to have vessels move in and out of the country.
Reports had suggested that at least two ship owners said they were keeping their vessels away from Nigeria after a series of multimillion dollar tax bills were sent out, seeking to recover back unpaid duties from 2010 to 2019.
Briefing State House correspondents after a meeting today with stakeholders, Adedeji allayed fears within the oil and gas sector, spelling out the agreement reached to avert vessel withdrawal so as not to disrupt the flow of products.
The presidential aide assured that a technical committee has been set up to resolve the issues in contention.
He noted that no vessel would be arrested or detained as the committee works to reconcile the back taxes.