The House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian Ports Authority to perform a comprehensive dredging of petroleum product shipping channels in Nigerian coastlines, as the high cost of transporting energy products to various regions of the country has become an issue. The House also directed its Ports and Harbor, and Petroleum Resources (Downstream) committees to ensure adherence to the resolution and report back within four weeks for additional legislative action.
Sergius Ogun, a member, introduced the motion titled ‘Need to Reduce the Cost of Transporting Petroleum Products by Dredging the Petroleum Products Shipping Channel in Nigerian Coastlines.’ The resolution was based on the unanimous adoption of the motion at the plenary on Tuesday. Ogun noted that Section 16 (1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that the state must control the national economy in a manner that ensures the maximum welfare, freedom, and happiness of every citizen, based on social justice and equality of status and opportunity.
According to Ogun, the federal government is planning to remove some cost line items on the existing Petroleum Motoring Spirit pricing template, which would inevitably raise the cost of petroleum products. Ogun stated that among the reasons for the high cost of making petroleum products available to Nigerians is the insufficient dredging of petroleum products shipping channels across the Nigerian coastline.
He also noted that the Nigerian Ports Authority Act charges the NPA with ensuring efficient management of port operations and the maintenance of all ports and territorial waters of Nigeria, providing facilities for berthing, towing, and moving of ships entering or leaving the ports or its approaches. Ogun stated that if the government goes ahead with its plans to remove some cost line items on the existing PMS pricing template, the petroleum products marketers will have no choice but to raise prices, resulting in a hike in the price of petroleum products and more hardship for Nigerians.