Dr Ahmadu Ali, Chairman, Board of PPPRA, said on Wednesday that the â€œwheel of deregulation is turning and there is no going back on the deregulation of the petroleum downstreamâ€™â€™.
Fielding questions from reportersâ€™Â when the board of FERMA visited the PPPRA in Abuja, Ali also called for the handing over of the nationâ€™s refineries to the private sector for greater efficiency. He said that full deregulation meant there would be level playing ground for all operators, keen competition, improved services and value addition, all of which would impact on national development.
Ali referred particularly to the poor state of the petroleum depots and performance of the state-run refineries. He said that the private sector was in a better position to manage the facilities profitably.
Ali said it was not fair to delay the planned or phased Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of any refinery for up to 10 years, let alone fix the approval limit of its chief executive at about N5 million for a capital-intensive business.
â€œThe recent TAM of Kaduna Refinery, for instance, took so long. Deregulation will encourage healthy competition and the market forces would bring down prices of the petroleum products, contrary to what many people think,â€ Ali said. He also said that FERMAâ€™s appeal to PPPRA to re-introduce the collection of five per cent tax (petrol and diesel consumersâ€ tax) for road maintenance and repair was in order.
â€œBy now, we should allow contracting firms to build and maintain our roads according to specifications. The firms should build roads that can last for 30 to 40 years and collect their money over time before handing the roads over to the government,â€ Ali said.
In a contribution, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure, Chairman of the Board of FERMA, said the agency would soon begin the construction of weigh bridges on federal highways. He said the construction would also target industrial estates and heavy haulage trucks to ensure that the roads become more durable. Kure said that with the installation of the weigh bridges, certain categories of haulage trucks and articulated vehicles would be discouraged from plying the highways.
â€œThis will make for better control and management. Any vehicle weighing more would be forced to shed weight to reduce pressure on the roads,â€ he said.