..Demands review of automotive policy
Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has said the country would lose the sum of $561.2 million and N334.2 million revenue from the 50 per cent rebate approved by the Federal Government for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to import Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in 2018.
Usman disclosed this yesterday when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours for the 2017 budget evaluation and 2018 budget defence of her agency.
The NPA boss noted that between 2009 to 2018, the country lost $234.4 million and N3.2 billion revenue as result of the rebate granted to NNPC for importation of PMS, noting that there was no evidence the policy impacted positively on the populace as the pump price of fuel remained same.
Usman also called for the review of the current automotive policy in the country, pointing out that the policy, which increased the tarrif on imported fairly used vehicles into the country was making government lose revenue with reducetion in importation.
Consequently, she appealed to the House Committee chaired by Patrick Asadu to intervene so that the proposed 50 per cent rebate for the NNPC, as well as the automotive policy, are reviewed.
According to her, “The Nigerian Ports Authority has been directed to provide 50 percent rebate on all PMS vessels that are coming into Nigeria, so we are concerned about that 50 percent rebate because it was instituted and suspended in June 2015 and within that period while it was on (2011-2015) there was no reduction in the price per litre of PMS, so, who enjoy that rebate?
“While the rebate was on, the Federal Government lost 50 percent of the value of the revenue that ought to be paid for vessels coming into the ports. We questioned that and we need to have clarity on that.
“What NPA lost as a result of 50 percent reduction of charges on PMS vessels between 2009 to 2015, $234.4 million and N3.2 billion while in 2018, $561.2 million and N34.2 million would be lost.
“Now that it has been reintroduced, we need to see that recognition within the PPPRA templates, within the price for a litre of fuel. We need to see that, to enable Nigerians appreciate and recognise the value of the rebate. We cannot keep on giving a rebate without it being reflected in price of petrol, we are concerned about that.”
Usman added :”In addition, we have also been given a directive to collect payments in naira as opposed to payments in dollars, the marine industry payment is dominated in dollars, so, even if Nigeria collects the revenue in naira, Nigerians will not benefit from it because the shipping trade is done in dollars.
“Another curious leg to it is that NNPC is the sole importer of PMS, so, NNPC already from 2012 till date, NPA collect payments from NNPC in naira, if the NNPC is the sole beneficiary, so why are you agitating to collect revenue in naira, since you are the sole importer, you are already enjoying that concession rate because you are government, and you said you are the only one that imports, so why are you now asking for government to collect from others in naira.”
Earlier, Asadu charged Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that government gets value for money in the utilisation of the funds allocated to them.