The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, says the country would lose the sum of $561.2 million and N334.2 million revenue from the 50 per cent rebate approved by the Federal Government for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to import Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in 2018.
Usman disclosed this last Saturday when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours for the 2017 budget evaluation and 2018 budget defence of her agency.
The NPA boss noted that between 2009 to 2018, the country lost $234.4 million and N3.2 billion revenue as a result of the rebate granted to NNPC for importation of PMS, noting that there was no evidence the policy impacted positively on the populace as the pump price of fuel remained same.
Usman also called for the review of the current automotive policy in the country, pointing out that the policy, which increased the tarrif on imported fairly used vehicles into the country was making government lose revenue with reducetion in importation.
Consequently, she appealed to the House Committee chaired by Patrick Asadu to intervene so that the proposed 50 per cent rebate for the NNPC, as well as the automotive policy, are reviewed.
According to her, “The Nigerian Ports Authority has been directed to provide 50 percent rebate on all PMS vessels that are coming into Nigeria, so we are concerned about that 50 percent rebate because it was instituted and suspended in June 2015 and within that period while it was on (2011-2015) there was no reduction in the price per litre of PMS, so, who enjoy that rebate?
“While the rebate was on, the Federal Government lost 50 percent of the value of the revenue that ought to be paid for vessels coming into the ports. We questioned that and we need to have clarity on that.
“What NPA lost as a result of 50 percent reduction of charges on PMS vessels between 2009 to 2015, $234.4 million and N3.2 billion while in 2018, $561.2 million and N34.2 million would be lost.
“Now that it has been reintroduced, we need to see that recognition within the PPPRA templates, within the price for a litre of fuel. We need to see that, to enable Nigerians appreciate and recognise the value of the rebate. We cannot keep on giving a rebate without it being reflected in price of petrol, we are concerned about that.”
Usman added :”In addition, we have also been given a directive to collect payments in naira as opposed to payments in dollars, the marine industry payment is dominated in dollars, so, even if Nigeria collects the revenue in naira, Nigerians will not benefit from it because the shipping trade is done in dollars.
“Another curious leg to it is that NNPC is the sole importer of PMS, so, NNPC already from 2012 till date, NPA collect payments from NNPC in naira, if the NNPC is the sole beneficiary, so why are you agitating to collect revenue in naira, since you are the sole importer, you are already enjoying that concession rate because you are government, and you said you are the only one that imports, so why are you now asking for government to collect from others in naira.”
Earlier, Asadu charged Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that government gets value for money in the utilisation of the funds allocated to them.
Explosion: Stakeholders Want Replacement Of Old Pipelines
As part of measures to avert further pipeline explosion in the Niger Delta, stakeholders in the region have called for the replacement of all obsolete oil pipelines in the area.
The views of the stakeholders were expressed during a random interview conducted by The Tide on the growing spate of pipeline explosions resulting in wastage of lives.
Speaking during the interview, President of a pro Niger Delta group, Niger Delta coalition Against Violence, (NDCAV), Comrade Lekia Christian said pipeline explosions in the Niger Delta and most recently the nasty experience at Komkom in Oyigbo Local Government Area in Rivers State were linked to leakages from broken pipelines that spilled out petroleum products.
He said people were tempted to stop the spilled crude and meet their waterlow.
“Pipeline explosion has become a recurrent event in the Niger Delta and lives have always been wasted in these sordid experiences. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government, through relevant institutions, to find a lasting solution to this prevalent issue. Most of the pipelines in the Niger Delta are old and need replacement; something has to be done as a matter of urgency to avert further disasters,” he said.
The NDCAV president also called for improved security and surveilance on the pipelines.
In his views, an environmental sociologist and lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt, Dr Steve Wodu, also blamed the sequence of pipeline explosions in the Niger Delta on obsolete facilities which, he said, constitute serious risk to the lives of the people of the host communities.
He said: “It’s unfortunate that most of the pipelines conveying crude oil in the Niger Delta are yet to be replaced despite the dilapidated status of the facilities. This is totally wrong and constitute big risk to the lives of the people. The NNPC and PPMC should embark on an overhaul of all oil pipeline facilities in the Niger Delta to address the issue of pipeline explosions in the area.
“The negligence of relevant institutions in maintenance of pipelines is an issue of critical concern as it affects the lives of the people negatively. This is a disservice and another worst form of injustice to the people of the Niger Delta.”
It could be recalled that the issue of pipeline explosions was also raised at the Senate plenary recently, following a motion by the Senator representing Rivers South East District, George Sekibo and three others following the recent explosion that claimed lives and properties at Oyigbo.
The Senate, in its ruling, urged the NNPC and PPMC and other relevant agencies in the oil and gas industry to find a lasting solution to the issue.
The Senate also called for a holistic review of all existing pipelines to ascertain the levels of functionalities.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rivers Community Shuts Down SPDC Flow Station
The people of Umudiaga Community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State have shut down the Ahia flow station, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on behalf of its Joint Venture Partners.
The community, which expressed its discontent with Shell through a peaceful protest, also gave one week ultimatum to the company to give electricity to the community or have its operations grounded.
Addressing the protesting crowd at the Shell facilities located within the community, last Wednesday, the Community Development Committee (CDC) chairman, Barr Emeka Ogbugo, said the protest was an expression of the community’s disapproval of the company’s continuous negligence of the plight of Umudiaga people.
He said: “The community has suffered for over 50 years despite the presence of Shell in the area. Apart from the one kilometer road constructed by Shell since 1961, there is nothing to show in the community in terms of development.
“Shell gave us electricity that didn’t last for two years. We have a flow station that gathers oil from other communities, yet our community is highly neglected in infrastructural and human capital development”.
He explained that several letters had been written to Shell to address the issues of electricity in the community, but such requests were turned down.
The CDC chairman vowed that the Shell facilities would remain shut down until the community gets a positive response from the company and demanded that the community should be connected to the national grid, rather than being given light from the Shell flow station.
In his reaction, the youth leader, Comrade Daniel Akpelo Wosa, accused SPDC of marginalising the Umudiaga community, in terms of employment opportunities, scholarship and other social amenities.
The Umudiaga women leader, Comfort Chukwu, who also spoke during the protest, urged SPDC to improve on their community relations policies by giving the people a sense of belonging.
Efforts to get the reactions of the SPDC proved abortive as calls made to the company’s Corporate Affairs Manager were not successful.
By: Taneh Beemene
Marketers Blame Terminal Operators For Hike In Cooking Gas Price
The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM), has, blamed Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminal owners and off-takers for the recent hike in the price of cooking gas.
Prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly called cooking gas, had gone up by more than 30 per cent, with customers in some parts of the country paying as much as N5, 500 for a 12.6kilograme cylinder of the gas. About a month ago, the price stood at about N2,800 – N3, 000 for the 12.6kg cylinder.
Executive Secretary of NALPGAM, Mr. Bassey Essien in a statement in Lagos last Friday, alleged that the activities of off-takers and terminal owners (where the gas was stored for sales to marketers) was responsible for the rise in the prices of the commodity.
“It becomes necessary to bring to the attention of users of cooking gas, stakeholders in the industry and the government the level of exploitation that currently subsists in the pricing of cooking gas by terminal owners and off-takers,” said Essien.
“The Federal Government approved the allocation of about 350,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of gas per annum for local consumption through the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company and this has been distributed through the terminals and off-takers to marketers who eventually distribute to end users.
“We noticed recently that gas delivered to terminals and off-takers, which was being sold at N3,200,000 per 20 MT a week ago suddenly jumped to between N4,000,000 and N4,300,000 per 20MT at the terminals, ” Essien alleged.
According to him, the decision of terminal operators to raise the price of the gas from their own end has seen Nigerians paying more in recent weeks that they did a month ago. The marketers, however, maintained that the price structure from the NLNG has not changed.
“We dissociate our association from exploitative acts of terminal owners. It is like taking the industry and stakeholders for granted to the detriment of the efforts of the Federal Government at deepening cooking gas utilisation in the country, which has been yielding positive results, ” Essien said.
Essien said that with this development, many Nigerians would go back to using kerosene and firewood which had attendant health effects.
“A filling station which was selling 300 litres of kerosene a week has seen its sales increased to about 6,000 litres because people who cannot afford gas due to the increment are going back to kerosene.
“This has so many negative effects on the economy, especially as food sellers would have to increase the prices of their food or reduce the quantity not to run at a loss,” he said.
Essien commended the NLNG for its efforts in supplying gas to Nigerians and urged the company to improve on its performance to deliver gas to other coastal terminals outside Lagos to reduce the inherent pressure on the terminals in the South West.
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