6th January, 2012
Senior Special Adviser to the President on Maritime, Mr. Oyewole Olugbenga Leke, has attributed the incessant incidence of piracy and armed robbery on the nation’s waterways to subsidy on petroleum products.
The Senior Special Adviser who disclosed this in Lagos at a seminar with the theme “Removal of Fuel Subsidy and Impact on the Maritime Industry” organized by the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN), said the above makes the product cheaper than is obtained in neighbouring countries.
Leke noted that the products are either sold to neighbouring countries or are brought back to Nigeria as import and demand for subsidy are made on them. He said the country is losing far more than the N1.3 trillion which is claimed to be what is paid annually as subsidy.
He explained that most modern ships sell their products mid stream and therefore keep a lot of cash on board, noting that it is the cash on board that attracts the attacks on the nation’s waterways.
He noted that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) are supposed to collect duties and levies on imported petroleum products but noted that they were not getting any revenue from the importation of the product.
Leke pointed out that seven years ago, Customs used to collect N3 on every litre of petrol brought into the country but stressed that importers of the product complained and it was reduced to NI.50k.
He stated that they went back again to complain and even the N1.50k was taken off completely. A ship can carry about 30,000 metric tons of cargo which is about 30 million litres and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) alone brings in about 20 ships in a month.
This, he further pointed out was outside from the number brought in by other individuals. According to Leke, “When you look at the money NPA and NIMASA are supposed to collect plus the NI.3 trillion (subsidy) then what is lost to subsidy is more because I have checked through the records and I can not see their record of payment in NPA or NIMASA.”
“What that means is that, we will be subsidizing the mother vessels that bring in products and they do not pay port charges and levies to the state government. Where are they taking the money to? This is unfair to the government.
“NI.3 trillion, all that revenue is lost to subsidy plus what is supposed to go to NPA and NIMASA. You know that no economy can grow under this situation. There is no two ways about this, we most remove subsidy,” he concluded.