FG, Labour Committee on Petrol Pricing Seeks 50% Reduction on Port Charges

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The committee of federal government and the organised labour has recommended a 50 per cent cut on all charges on imported petrol as part of measures to reduce the cost of fuel in the country.

The committee also recommended the adoption of a unified exchange rate for all players and product importers in the downstream petroleum sector.

It further proposed that the federal government should stop the current practice whereby marketers and importers are compelled to pay port charges in foreign currency, suggesting that instead, such payments should be made in Naira.

It pointed out that the existing practice of collecting port charges in Dollars has pushed markers to source foreign exchange from the parallel market for settling bills thereby resulting in high and varying costs.

The Chairman of of the Technical Committee on Petrol Pricing Framework, Mr. Onochie Azubuike Anyaoku who presented the report of the committee at the meeting between federal government team and leadership of the organised labour yesterday night at the Bouquet Hall of Presidential Villa in Abuja, said that basically there is nothing wrong with fuel price monitoring mechanism of the Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Aggency (PPPRA) which is based on liberalised market.

According to the report of the committee, a unified exchange rate will guarantee a fair and more transparent pricing for imported petrol.

It recommended that the authorities at Lagos ports should carry out proper dredging of the shallow waters to facilitate easy and faster evacuation of products.

The federal government and labour leaders later went into closed door meeting to deliberate on the various recommendations by the Technical Committee.

Earlier while welcoming the labour leaders, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha and Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige expressed the hope that the new year will witness a more fruitful engagement between government and the labour unions.