A presidential committee set up to find the solution to the perennial fuel supply crisis is considering three options including allowing oil marketers to import fuel and sell at their own price while NNPC mega stations sell at N145 per liter.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu who chairs the committee, disclosed this at an investigative hearing by the National Assembly yesterday.

He said the other options are a special foreign exchange concession to oil marketers to enable them import fuel and sell at the approved N145 per liter or a special tax regime for the marketers as a way of incentive to encourage them to remain afloat.

The NNPC, the main importer of petrol, said last week that the landing cost of the commodity was N171 per liter but the retail price is still retained at N145 per liter.

The minister said: “We are looking at the option whereby NNPC will sell at N145 and private marketers will bring their products and sell at their own price. Whichever one, we will advise the government at the end of our work.”

He said the long-term solution to the perennial scarcity of the commodity is the fixing of the country’s refineries and that the business model of Petroleum in the country needs to be changed in terms of importation and distribution.

The Presidential committee is to look for “how to cushion the effect of higher prices of Crude and lower prices of downstream. It is an 18 months plan before private refineries come into the stream from 2019.

“What Nigeria needs is to have refineries working. Selling Crude at raw levels is not good for Nigeria. Dangote and modular refineries are in the pipeline from 2019 and onwards to solve fuel problems or reduce it drastically,” he said.

The GMD of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru in his speech said the scarcity of the fuel was as a result of a report in the media of impending increase in the pump price, PENGASSAN’s industrial action, panic buying, non-import by major marketers and smuggling due to price arbitrage.

In his opening remark, chairman of the committee, Senator Marafa said the investigative hearing would only focus on issues around the fuel scarcity and that all others would be looked into by relevant committees.

Deregulation only way out – MOMAN

The Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Obafemi Olawore, said the only way out of the perennial scarcity was deregulation.

“Going forward major players should be given major roles in the whole value chain. The way out is deregulation. Please let work towards deregulation so that the private sector can build refineries, “ he said.

Raising the issue on the N800bn being owed them, he said: “We were told that the request has been sent to you. Please whenever it gets to you, give it accelerated consideration.”

Also speaking, the chairman of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria(DAPPMA), Mr. Dapo Abiodun said to maintain the N145 approved pump price, the government should make dollars available to them at N240.

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