By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—NIGERIA may lose $561.2 million and N334.2 million revenue to indiscriminate approval of 50% rebate by Federal Government on importation of premium motor spirit, PMS, in 2018.
Hadiza Usman, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, raised the alarm during the 2017 budget performance and 2018 budget defence at the instance of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Ports and Harbours chaired by Patrick Asadu.
She called for immediate review of the policy, observing that the policy had not impacted on the official pump price of PMS pegged at N145 per litre.
She said: “‘What NPA is to lose as a result of 50 percent reduction of charges on PMS vessels in 2009 to 2015, $234.4 million and N3.2 billion while in 2018, $561.2 million and N34.2 million would be lost. If you have done this before, why do you want to reintroduce it. And if you reintroduced it, but let Nigerians know that the price of fuel will be reduced. Because government has reduced NPA charges by 50 percent. When you look at PPPRA template you will see NPA charges were reduced by half.
“The NPA has been given directive 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, Federal Government lost 50 percent of the value of the revenue that would have been paid for vessels coming into the ports. We questioned that and we need to have clarity on that. Now that it is 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.
“In addition, we have also been given a directive to collect payments in naira as oppose 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.
“Currently, the President gave an approval for us to implement the payments in naira, we discussed with the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor and the Minister of Petroleum and they all recognized that this can be done, Central Bank create a window for the petroleum marketers to access dollars, the petroleum marketers were accessing those dollars and are paying the Nigeria Ports Authority.
“But for the time being they claimed that it was delayed, so, what we are saying is to compel CBN to improve on their operations as oppose to making Nigeria collect revenue in naira because CBN is not efficient in providing dollars to the petroleum marketers.
“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 concessioning rate because you are government, and you said you are the only one that import, so why are you now asking for government to collect from others in naira,” the NPA accounting officer said.
Speaking earlier, Patrick Asadu, chairman of the Committee urged all federal agencies not to ground the government activities because of the forthcoming general elections in 2019.