• Banks prune down new facilities
• Fewer operators now import
The rush by banks to force petroleum products importers to repay the loans which they took from some of the troubled banks may have started taking its toll on the hitherto booming petroleum products importation and marketing business as the ever-busy Ibafon and Ibru petroleum products jetties have started experiencing down moments.
Shipping Position Weekly can authoritatively reveal that since the clampdown began about one month ago, there has been a reduction in the number of tankers bringing products into the country, a development which stakeholders attributed to the cutting of facilities for importation.
Only very few of the almost 22 tank farms are still bubbling with activities as the troubled banks tighten the noose on the debtor downstream operators.
In the last couple of weeks, the previously high number of in coming tankers has given way to a new era of fewer number of petroleum product laden tankers arriving Lagos ports.
For instance, statistics of incoming petroleum products tankers that were made available tom our correspondent in Lagos revealed that while only 24 vessels laden with products came into Lagos in the first week of September, the figure for second, third and fourth week stood at 27 ships, 8 ships and 13 ships, respectively. These figures are a clear departure from usual figure of 40 ships and above per week.
Confirming the development, a source at Rahamanniya oil and gas company disclosed to our correspondence recently that the banks have been stringent in granting fresh loans to oil and gas companies for importation of product, while intensifying efforts to ensure that debtor companies repay loans that had already been granted. He confirmed that this has slowed down activities at the various depots.
Our investigations at some of the depots in Lagos also confirmed that there has been between 10 per cent and 20per cent drop in activities as only few of the tank farms had products to sell.
Our correspondent confirmed that there were no products at the tank farms belonging to: Ascon, Accorn, Rahamanniya, Technooil and Total
The total quantity of petroleum consumed in the country per day is about 32million litres, out of these; marketers are responsible for 50 per cent while the remaining 50 per cent is taken care of by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
A source very close to Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN); the umbrella body of all petroleum importers told Shipping Position Weekly that “it is true that we have reduced importation but that does not mean we have stopped it altogether, the banks are now stringent in giving out loan facilities to some of our members and you must know that without the bank loans, we can not import products” our source said.
He said that “despite the fact that the daily ‘shipping position’ shows that tankers are coming in, but it is only for those who are considered by the banks as their old and reputable clients that they still give loan facilities to import products” he said.
Corroborating this, depot manager at Rahamanniya, Mr. Balla Danmanu, stated that activities have slowed down at the depot due to the recent shake up in the banking sector and also disclosed that his company is still struggling to service its debt to two of the troubled banks namely: Intercontinental bank and Oceanic bank.