…In talks with varsities on locally fabricated refinery
..Says Nigerians paying for services not product
…Adds subsidy benefiting few corrupt individuals
By Chris Ochayi
The Federal Government has assured consumers of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol that the price of the product would soon crash relatively below N100 per litre, if its ongoing effort to regularize the activities of artisanal refiners materializes.
The government argued that integrating this class of actors into the mainstream petroleum production would enable Nigerians to procure the product at the price cheaper and affordable.
Speaking in Abuja during a meeting with the Domestic Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria, DROAN, the Special Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, regretted that what Nigerians are paying for was the real cost of petrol but for services.
According to Enang, “So what Nigerians are actually paying for is not the real cost of the product, it is the services, and by the time we engage with you, and we are able to have the domestic Nigerian Refinery, all those other charges will be eliminated and like you have been telling me, the price of refined petroleum products will come under N100 per litre.”
Senator Enang said as soon as local refineries begin operation, the price of petroleum products would be forced to crash.
He explained that the reason why petroleum products prices are high is that the process of extracting, exporting, refining and bringing it back to Nigeria is very cumbersome and expensive.
He said, “As we succeed with you, which I believe that we will succeed, we will eliminate and be able to crash the price of refined petroleum product because what makes refined petroleum products costly is one, the cost of freight, sending it abroad to be refined, you pay Port Authority, you pay NIMASA, you pay for the chatter of the vessels that take it there.
“You pay the duties in the in Nigeria, you pay the duties in the country that it is landing, you pay the duty of those countries, you pay the labour of those countries where they refined and then you bring them back, you pay the freight, you pay the vessel if it is not landing early and it is hanging somewhere in the sea, and all that is transferred to the price of the refined products.
“And finally you’ll now see that NNPC will put their price, Petroleum Product Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Department of Petroleum Product, DPR, will put their price.
The former Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethic, Rule Privileges noted further said that subsidy payment wasn’t benefiting ordinary Nigeria, but just a few corrupt individuals, hence the need to remove it became necessary.
He said, “As we were locked down, the price of crude oil collapsed, I think it led consequently to the lowering of the price of refined product and I think we relaxed and we thought we have ended it now suddenly the price went up.
“We said look, we no more can sustain subsidy in this country because subsidy only benefits a corrupt set of people and it doesn’t really touch the ordinary man.
“And having withdrawn subsidy it becomes that refiners are petroleum product must sell it at a market-driven price, and the price went up, therefore, it becomes necessary for us to accelerate our engagement with you as our Nigerian resources to solve Nigeria’s economic problem.”
On the local refiners, he said, for the purpose of integrating them and their efforts into the planning for the economy of Nigeria, the government had also engaged with the team that constructed the locally fabricated refinery in an Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and they attended a briefing with the Minister of Science and Technology.
“We have also engaged with the team in federal University of petroleum, Efurum, they have a department that is fabricating locally, Nigeria Refinery, which will produce and refine petrol diesel, kerosene and make other byproducts available for other institutions.
“So since after the last meeting, these are the things that we’ve done to take the ministry forward, so it became necessary to have to invite you one, to brief you on what we’ve done, that although we were on National lockdown, we were not locked up in terms of thinking and planning for the economy”, he added.