From Ndubuisi Orji and Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
The House of Representatives has directed the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources to reduce the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, currently pegged at a maximum price of N145 per litre.
Consequently, the House at yesterday’s plenary presided over by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to interface with the Petroleum Ministry on the downward review of the pump price of fuel and other related matters.
The committee has eight weeks to submit its report for further legislative action. This was as the House also urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to dredge all the nation’s harbours within a year, to enable ships dock in them.
This directive was sequel to a motion sponsored by Abubarka Hassan Fulata (APC, Jigawa) on “Urgent Need to Review the Petroleum Pricing Template”.
Fulata, in the lead debate, said the motion became necessary following speculations of a possible hike in price of petrol at a time when Nigerians are already going through hard times, occasioned by dwindling revenues, high inflation rate, unemployment and a general fall in the standard of living of many people across the country.
The lawmaker said research has shown that instead of a hike, the current price of PMS in the country could actually be reviewed downward, without negatively affecting the profit margin of petroleum marketers. He said if the pump price of petrol is reviewed downward, it will help to reduce the current inflation in the economy.
According to Fulata, the landing cost of petrol is N119.74, while the distribution cost and margins of marketers is N18.37, making a total of N138.11.
“The total of both landing and distribution costs is N138.11, while marketers are allowed to sell product within the range of N140 – N145 per litre. 90 per cent of the current price of petrol in Nigeria is accounted for by the transport related charges i.e N124.34 out of N138.11,” he said.
The legislator contended that the provision of N4.56 in the price template for the lightering services is unnecessary, noting that in line with international practice, all ships are supposed to dock at the harbour but in Nigeria’s case, the water in all the harbours is shallow due to siltation.
“The NPA is paid N0.84 for every litre of petrol. It has failed to dredge the various docking areas, as a result of which ships wait at the high sea and discharge their cargoes in smaller vessels, and for this inefficiency of the NPA, Nigerians are asked to pay N4.56 for every litre of petrol, which would not have been necessary if all docking areas had been dredged,” Fulata said.
Contributing to the debate, Oghene Egoh (PDP, Lagos), said the motion has shown that there is a lot of deceit in the prices of petroleum products.
“All that has been happening about the prices of petroleum is the use of faulty figures to deceive Nigerians. Let the relevant authority tell us why they cannot dredge the harbours,” he said. (The Sun)