Why Fuel Subsidy Hasn’t Been Removed – Dogara | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Why Fuel Subsidy Hasn’t Been Removed – Dogara

Posted: Jul 14, 2015 at 12:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•  As IPMAN Plans $4bn Refinery Projects

By Rotimi Akinwumi and David Odama,  Abuja


House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara on Monday lamented the continuous payment of controversial subsidy on importation of petroleum products, and attributed same to the failure of the executive arm of government to establish the Price Regulating Board, as prescribed by the Price Control Act of 1977.

Dogara explained that the country was still paying subsidy to fuel importers because Section 4 of the first schedule of the Price Control Act (1977) cannot be removed by Presidential fiat or government policy until the empowering section is constitutionally removed by the Price Regulating Board, which is currently not in place.

Dogara stated this when he played host to the National Executive of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) led by its President, Chinedu Okoronkwo.

Hon.  Yakubu Dogara

Hon. Yakubu Dogara

The IPMAN leadership, which condemned the incessant shortage of fuel supplies in the country, assured that the proposed refineries to be built by the body will soon come on board to alleviate the suffering of the masses.

Giving an insight into the issue of fuel subsidy and the encumbrance of getting it yanked off, the Speaker said “As a legislator, I can tell you there is something about subsidy removal that we are not looking at. There is a Price Control Act; if you look at the PCA, section 4 talks about regulating or controlling the prices of products that are listed in the first schedule of that Act.

“One of the products listed in the first schedule is petroleum products, so by law in this country, we must control the price of petroleum products. But the law as passed by Parliament gives a window and prescribing, vesting the responsibility of adding up items on the schedule of the giving items to the Price Regulating Board and I am not sure we have that board in place.

“So, for any discussion then to be meaningful, you have to put pressure on the executive because it is not the legislative work to constitute the board.”

He explained that members of the board can remove petroleum product from the schedule of the Act.

The Speaker, who expressed regrets over the failure of past administration to encourage domestic refining of the nation’s crude oil, described Nigeria as a laughing stock among comity of nations.

“I don’t know if there is any country that produces the kind of oil that is produced in Nigeria that refines outside its products own shores.

“For me it is kind of illegal; this is most inexcusable because we have turned this nation into a laughing stock. Why is that we can’t refine this oil here? Why is it that in an oil producing country, our brothers and sisters have to queue for nine hours to buy a product that should just be there? This is something that I believe that with your expertise you need to leverage on.”

Speaking earlier, Chinedu Okoronkwo, IPMAN President assured that efforts are in top-gear to ensure successful implementation of the $4 billion refinery projects in Aggeh, Kogi State and Itobe, Bayelsa State.

According to him,  the core investors:  Watercarbon Filed of Peru and their training arm, Blue Oil in London will be on working visit to Nigeria to further discussion on the project.

He said “the government and people of Kogi have given us about 1,385 hectares of land at the Itobe river, then we believe that with the necessary work because right now, the drawing and necessary works are ongoing and finally when we’ll be given the licence to do all those things, we intend to build about 200,000 barrel a day refinery there and another 200,000 barrel a day in Bayelsa.”