Senate Wants Fuel Price At N70 Per Litre

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This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Abubaker Fulata titled ‘Urgent Need to Review the Petroleum Price Template’. The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to review the current price template for premium motor spirit (PMS) with a view to reducing the price to N70.

Moving the motion, Fulata expressed dismay over the circulating rumour of a possible hike in the price of petrol in the country.

Although the rumour was denied by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Fulata said it was coming at a time when the nation is going through difficult times.

According to him, the hard times are occasioned by dwindling revenues, high inflation rate, unemployment and general fall in the standard of living of many Nigerians.

The lawmaker noted that the current template for the price of PMS could be reviewed downwards without affecting the profit margin of marketers and transporters.

The review would also contribute to reducing the current inflationary trend in the economy.

“I am aware that the current cost of freighting PMS stands at N109.1, lightering expenses N4.56, Nigeria Ports Authority charges, N0.84, NIMASA charges, N0.22, financing, N2.51 and Jetty put charges at N0.60.

“Storage charges N2.00, retailers margin, N6.00, transport allowance, N3.36, dealers margin, N2.36, bridging fund, N6.20 and marine transport average put at N0.15 bringing the total cost to N137.81,” he said.

He further informed the House that the landing cost of PMS remained at N119.74, while the distribution cost and margins of marketers stood at N18.37.

“Thus, the total of both the landing and distribution costs is N138.11, while marketers are allowed to sell the product within the range of N140 and N145 per litre.

Fulata further noted that over 90 percent of the current price of PMS in the country is accounted for by transport related charges at N124.34 out of N138.11.

According to him, foreign vessels charge higher for lifting the PMS because Nigerian carriers which were supposed to lift 50 percent of the products lack the capacity to do so.

He faulted the NPA’s inability to dredge the ports despite collecting N0.84 for every litre of petrol thereby costing Nigerian users the sum of N4.56 for every litre of petrol they buy.

“Bridging is supposed to be an annual event only when refineries are carrying out their turnaround maintenance which should not exceed three months.

“However, due to the fact that pipelines linking the various depots have been vandalised or in a state of disrepair, bridging has remained a permanent feature of the oil industry in Nigeria,’’ he said.

He said that if the pipelines linking the various depots and refineries could be fixed and secured, the bridging fund could be reduced to N2.00 per litre instead of the current N6.20.

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“Also a realistic template would bring down the price of petrol to N70.04,” he added.

The House, therefore, urged the NPA to dredge all harbours within a period of one year to enable ships dock in them.

The House also set up an ad-hoc committee to interface with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the review of the price of PMS and such related matters and report back within weeks for further legislative action.

Meanwhile, the House also on Tuesday raised the alarm over what it called, “the spate of land grabbing by foreign companies in guise of investing in the country’s economy.”

The House raised the concern following a motion under matters of urgent national importance moved by Sani Zorro (APC-Jigawa), which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote.

Moving the motion, Zorro had alleged that Messrs Lee Group, a Chinese company, planned to seize 15,000 hectares of farmland in Jigawa.

Zorro said that a lot of people had been displaced by foreign companies under the pretext of investing in Nigeria.

He said that he was disturbed by the land-grabbing activities by Messrs Lee Group in many states in the North, the latest being its incursion into Jigawa.

The lawmaker said that it was a ploy by the company to forcefully acquire over 15,000 hectares of farmland.

According to Zorro, the development will dispossess more than 10,000 peasant farmers of their farm lands in over 35 farming communities in Gagarawa Local Government Area of his constituency.

“The company plans to grow sugar cane against the will of majority of the people who own farmlands.

“There is tension and threats of breakdown of law and order in the area, consequent upon the company’s audacity to proceed with an illegal compensation since Tuesday, November 10.

“This is in spite of a law suit and stiff resistance by owners of the farmlands.

“We cannot build our nation if we continue to elevate the citizens of other nations above our own citizens,” Zorro said.

The lawmaker said that as public office holders, they had the duty to protect lives and property of the citizens of the country.

He, therefore, urged the authorities and the Jigawa government to resist any intent of dispossessing Nigerian citizens of their land and resources.

The speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, while ruling on the motion, referred it to the House Committee on Judiciary for advice on the next step to be taken on the matter.

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