Oil Marketers Beg FG For Tax Holidays, Agree To N145

By Azu Ishiekwene

By Azu Ishiekwene

The federal government has constituted a committee to review the current fuel scarcity across the country and suggest solutions to prevent such occurring in the future.

Ibe Kachikwu, will today hold a crucial meeting with oil marketers to consider the re-involvement of private sector operators in the importation of petroleum products.

"We needed to come together to analyse what really went wrong".

"I want to remind that over two years we haven't had queues".

Kachikwu said this on Thursday when he appeared before the senate committee on petroleum (downstream).

Other members of the Kachikwu committee are the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, most parastatals under the ministry, IPMAN, DAPMAN and labour unions, among others.

"We now have to go back and find the solution to this problem in order to ease supply gaps and ensure availability of the product at all times, the marketers were able to sell for N145 per litre when the exchange rate was N285 per Dollar".

He said such issues include forex for marketers, fix of refineries and tax consideration for oil marketers. We explained that the problem that you saw is not willful on the part of anyone either NNPC or marketers.

The marketers have since rejected the accusation.

"The thing is even the Nigerians, who have suffered, will want to be sure that we find a lasting solution and find evidential basis upon which to punish people".

The minister expressed sympathy for the painful experience Nigerians went through during the yuletide period, assuring that government was determined to find lasting solutions to the problem.

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"In fact the chief of staff instructed that specific names should be put on the table, those who have gone against the rule, done certain things that are against the book should be punished. I don't have one (evidence) yet; if you have one, I will like to have it".

"Going forward we need to address the issue of pricing, there is a disparity between landing cost and cost we are selling".

"From our point of view as marketers, we made our submissions known to government and we emphasized the fact that this was not a marketer-related problem".

Kachikwu also said that lack of sufficient reserve, low clearance speed of petrol at the ports, diversion of products are some of the reasons for the ongoing fuel crisis being experienced in the country, says Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu.

The fuel marketers, however, insisted that they could no longer import and sell Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, at the controlled price of N145 per litre.

Asked to comment on the issue of subsidy, he said: "Well, like I said to you, there is no subsidy at the moment".

Kachikwu made the call yesterday in Abuja during a public hearing organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee investigating the cause of recent fuel scarcity in the country.

So if that is to remain, then we have to find other ways to manage the situation so that we will continue to sell fuel at N145. "Thus, if the marketers import it at the rate at which they are selling it now, automatically they can not sell it at N145 per litre".

A meeting of the committee of stakeholders set up at the Presidential Villa reportedly took the decision yesterday.

"In the past, marketers bring in about 60%, while NNPC about 35 to 40%".

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