• Spends N600billion on Subsidy
As the countdown to full deregulation of the downstream sector begins, strong indications have emerged that Government will cut down on charges being collected by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) for he use of its jetties charge by 50 per cent. The levy is payable by owners of ships loaded withy petroleum products.
Shipping Position Weekly confirmed last week that the federal government is desirous of putting measures that will reduce the anticipated harsh effect of the deregulation policy which entails a free market for importers of petroleum products to sell at prevailing global prices.
The consideration coincided with a the disclosure by the minister of finance
Apart from the 50 percent slash in jetty charges, government is also said to be contemplating taking over of routine maintenance of jetties such as the sweeping of Apapa jetty.
It is also planning to embark on the dredging of Apapa jetty as well as creating a more conducive environment for more sector involvement in the highly lucrative sector, among others.
The plans were part of revelations from some of the meetings which held last week between stakeholders in the sector and the federal government Implementation Committee on the Reforms of the Downstream Petroleum Sector.
The implementation committee is headed by the minister of finance, Dr. Mansur Mukhtar. It also has the chief economic adviser to the President, Mr. Tanimu Yakubu as a member. The duo led other members of the committee to series of meeting with different groups last week.
Our correspondent confirmed that the team had already met the two unions in he oil and gas sector namely: PENGASSAN and NUPENG, in addition to having met with independent and major oil marketers.
Apart from these; it is also billed to hold consultations with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA.
Harping on the rationale for the deregulation policy and the fact that government swill spent about N600Billion to subsidise cost of importation of petroleum products, the minister disclosed that the amount will be taken form the excess crude account.
He said that the federal government sees "subsidies as a major challenge in the downstream petroleum sector which needs to be addressed2 and added that about 29 per cent of the foreign exchange earnings were used to finance the importation of refined petroleum products in January alone.