The National Assembly is set to appropriate funds for the settlement of N800 billion subsidy debts to oil marketers as part of moves to enable them import petroleum products. This was one of the recommendations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, towards ending the prolonged fuel scarcity to the Joint National Assembly Committees on Petroleum Downstream in Abuja. Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, who made the presentation, stated that the Corporation will solicit the National Assembly in writing to appropriate funds for the settlement of outstanding claims. He said the Federal Government has agreed to undertake a review of the pricing template and landing cost of petrol in addition to a number of incentives for oil marketers, petroleum tanker drivers and labour in a bid to ensure uninterrupted supply of petroleum products across the country. The incentives were unveiled by Baru, in his presentation to the Joint National Assembly Committees on Petroleum Downstream in Abuja. Baru noted that the major complaints and challenges confronting Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, include complaints of outstanding subsidy payments, insufficient volumes and high landing cost which had brought about low margins. Others are freight differentials, especially at the Port Harcourt and Calabar ports and low draft at the port of discharge of petroleum products. In response to these challenges, Baru said the Federal Government was banking on the National Assembly to appropriate funds for outstanding debt payment, while the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is to provide foreign exchange guarantees, especially during periods of high foreign exchange demands. He also stated that the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, had been directed to “dredge the water channels to address the issue of low draft at the ports, while the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, is to undertake a review of the petroleum products pricing template as well as the landing cost to address the issue of freight differentials, high landing cost and low margins.” For Petroleum Tankers Drivers, PTD, Baru said: “The Federal Government and the CBN will guarantee truck loan facility to the National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, to address the challenges of ageing trucks, while the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing will rehabilitate roads across the country to address the complaints of bad roads. “The Federal Government is also considering reviewing the duties for spare parts of trucks, to address the transporters’ complaints of high duty on spare parts, put at 35 per cent compared to five per cent.”
The NNPC boss also said the CBN will henceforth, expedite or waive certain requirements for PMS import and downstream facilities, as well as ensure effecting same day payment to beneficiaries upon advice by the NNPC to address marketers’ complaints on long processing time for Letters of Credit (LC) and payment delays. In regards to high LC charges, Baru stated that the CBN has agreed to remove such charges for petroleum marketers or reduce same to commercial banks’ rate of 0.25 per cent. In addition, Baru said the NPA will henceforth accept evidence of payment to CBN to allow marketers clear petroleum vessels, instead of insisting on receipt of confirmation of payment for port charges.