Politics 

Reps summon Kachikwu, GMD NNPC, NPA over petrol pump price

ABUJA— THE House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on review of petroleum pump price, yesterday, summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu; Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to appear before it on the need to review the pump price of fuel. This came as Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and its Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, counterpart,  told the committee that on no account should marketers be allowed to increase the pump price of petrol, saying “this is not the right time to review the pricing template of PMS.” Also, Obafemi Olawore, Executive Secretary, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, said the fact that importers pay Nigeria Maritime Agency for Safety Administration, NIMASA, and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, in dollar was putting a great strain on the naira. Similarly, some stakeholders at the public hearing, including some lawmakers, were of the opinion that the current pump price was too high and that it should be brought down to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians. The Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe-led Ad-hoc committee in the two-day public hearing had accused a number of government agencies of contributing to the astronomical price of petrol, which is currently causing Nigerians pains. House of Representatives The lawmakers said the NPA was not doing enough to justify the 84 kobo/litre collected from importers, adding that NPA would not have been able  to justify the amount it was collecting if the seas were dredged and vessels not engaged on ship-to-ship discharging of products that add to costs of products and loss of revenue for the country. Igbokwe, who represents Ahiazu Mbaise/Ezinihitte federal constituency of Imo State, insisted that the MD of NPA must attend today’s public hearing, saying the Acting General Manager, Mr. Ephraim Okoro, who represented him, lacked the capacity to answer all the questions of the committee. On its part, Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, represented by its Executive Secretary, Victor Shidok, told the committee that the 30 kobo administrative charge on petrol was for services such as data capturing and monitoring by staff deployed to depots across the country. The committee, however, insisted that the agency must present its list of inspectors engaged from 2012 till date, amounts paid, copies of agreements entered into with them and proof of payment The agency will also provide proof of total amount received as administrative charges from 2012 to date. No plan for pump price hike — GMD While responding to questions on the sustainability of the supply of PMS, Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of NNPC, dismissed insinuations over a hike in the price of petroleum products. Baru, who was represented by Henry Obih, NNPC Chief Operating Officer (Downstream), explained that the corporation approved six companies to import PMS and other petroleum products since February 2016, on the basis of direct sale direct purchase (DSDP), in exchange of crude oil for value of refined products. NUPENG, PENGASSAN oppose price hike Meanwhile, NUPENG and Nigeria, PENGASSAN, in a joint presentation,  recalled that between 1978 and 2016, the Federal Government had increased the pump price of petrol 30 times, lamenting that there had been a hue and cry that the current N145 per litre which took effect last year, was no longer realistic in view of the landing costs and forex challenges, among others, confronting the importation of the product. The unions, however, pleaded with the Federal Government to among others, provide a concessionary foreign exchange for marketers to address forex challenges arising from high exchange rate of about N490 to a dollar in the parallel market confronting the marketers. Giving reasons for their opposition to any increase in the pump price of petrol, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, said among others that: “The economy is biting hard on all Nigerians. Any attempt to further review the template will further impoverish ordinary Nigerians as the additional price will be transferred to the end users of the product. Such review will further impact negatively on the economy, which the government is currently trying to pull out of recession.”

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