Despite a presidential directive to Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to suspend further collection of petroleum products imports charges in dollars, recent findings have revealed the two agencies have continued to disregard the government order.
According to a letter dated January 17, 2018, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and addressed to the Minister of Transportation with the subject, “Submission of Report of the Presidential Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution”, had directed that the charges should henceforth be paid in naira.
But two months after the directive from President Muhammadu Buhari, most fuel marketers who spoke to Daily Sun in confidence said the charges are still being collected in dollars in flagrant disregard to the presidential directive.
The collection of NPA and NIMASA charges in dollars under the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has been a subject of controversy between fuel marketers and the two agencies.
A source privy to the letter told the newspaper that the implementation of the presidential directive was stalled because the Minister of Transportation had yet to instruct NPA and NIMASA to implement it. One of the marketers in an interview with Daily Sun lamented the over $100,000 were sometimes paid to these agencies in dollars, saying the refusal of NPA and NIMASA to comply with the presidential directive was another way of putting pressure on the naira.
“Marketers are not saying they won’t pay. But the idea of forcing us to source dollars at the parallel market is not healthy for our business operations,” he said.
Another marketer who also spoke under the condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised said the impunity displayed by the two agencies was a further confirmation that the President is not in charge in his administration.
“How can a President issue a directive and two months after, it was yet to be complied with. Are we really serious about our push for the ease of doing business?’’ he queried.
The PPPRA, while confirming the presidential directive in a letter signed by its Executive Secretary, Abdulkadir Saidu and dated February 19, 2018, and addressed to the Executive Secretary of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) with the title, “Reversal of NPA and NIMASA Dollar-Denominated Charges”, disclosed that the President has given approval for the charges to be paid in naira.
The PPPRA letter to DAPPMAN read in part: “This is to bring to the attention of the Executive Secretary, the presidential approval that NPA and NIMASA charges, relating to petroleum products imports under the PPPRA pricing template should henceforth be paid in naira, as against the current practice of paying in US dollars. The approval was conveyed through a letter by the Chief of Staff to the President.’’