By Olisemeka Obeche


The Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has disclosed that removal of petroleum subsidy in Nigeria can only be actualized through amendment of Price Control Act 1977 and not mere presidential fiat.

Dogara made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday while addressing national executives of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) led by its President, Chinedu Okoronkwo.

“I can tell you there is something about subsidy removal that we are not looking at. If you look at Section 4 of the Price Control Act, it talks about regulating the prices of products that are listed in the First Schedule of the Act. One of the products listed in the first schedule is petroleum. So by law in this country, we must control the price of petroleum products,’’ the Speaker said.

According to Dogara, the law passed by parliament gives the responsibility of adding up items on the schedule to the Price Regulating Board. “I am not sure we have that board in place. So, for any discussion to be meaningful, you have to put pressure on the executive. It is not the legislative work to constitute the board.’’
Dogara also lamented failure of past administrations to encourage domestic refining of the nation’s crude oil, describing it as major setback for the country. His words:  “I don’t know if there is any country that produces oil like Nigeria that refines outside its shores. For me, it is illegal; this is most inexcusable because we have turned this nation into a laughing stock. Why is it that we can’t refine oil here? Why is it that in an oil producing country, citizens 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,” he told the oil marketers.

The IPMAN delegates who also lamented the petroleum crisis, however, promised that efforts were in top gear to ensure successful implementation of the $4 billion refinery projects in Itobe, Kogi State and Aggeh, Bayelsa State.

According to IPMAN President, Okoronkwo, the core investors Watercarbon File of Peru and their training arm, Blue Oil in London, will be paying a working visit to Nigeria for further discussion on the Greenfield refinery projects.  “The government and people of Kogi have given us about 1,385 hectares of land near Itobe river. We intend to build about 200,000 barrels a day refinery there. Right now, the drawing and necessary works are ongoing, we are awaiting the licence to kick-start the project,” he said.


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