NNPC calls for tariff harmonisation of non-oil products

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Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Bello Rabiu, has called for the harmonisation of tariffs on non-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) goods to promote cooperation on non-oil exports.

Rabiu spoke during the panel session of West African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (WAIPEC) organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) in Lagos.

At the session titled: How Nigerian and West African market can better compete in a weak and disruptive oil market, he noted that the harmonisation would counter the effects of smuggling across  borders in the subregion.

Rabiu, who was represented by Dr Siky Aliyu, managing director, National Engineering and Technical Company (NETCO), said the harmonisation would spur coastal countries to make their ports preferred import destinations to attract more trade flows and revenue.

“It will promote trade among West African countries and by extension ECOWAS can forge partnerships with Europe, Asia, among for the export of their agricultural produce. There is need to diversify the West African economy base to be able to handle shocks caused by oil prices.

“In terms of economic and trade cooperation among ECOWAS countries, the recently-proposed Niger-Kaduna Refinery crude export pipeline offers a panacea for landlocked West-African countries and such should be promoted as it acts as an alternative source of crude supply to an existing ready market.

“Similar infrastructure running from Chad to Cameroun’s Atlantic coast is in operation,” Rabiu said.

He also said there was a need for new investment in refining capacity to grow and sustain internal consumption and promote external trade among West African countries, adding that there were plans to increase capacities in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Niger Republic. With regard to Nigeria, it is private-sector led – Dangote Refinery, which is proposed as a 650,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in Lekki, Lagos.

“Aside this, NNPC’s plan is to rehabilitate, revamp and upgrade all existing refineries to ensure that by 2019 there would be no more product import. Similarly, we are supporting the concept of condensate refineries to refine more condensates in-country,” he added.

According to him, based on the foregoing, it is imperative that we  balance high crude output with high refining capacities to reduce import costs and charges, export charges, subsidy payments, among others.

“This will effectively position us to get more value from the crude fraction as opposed to a single price value for the crude alone. It will also ensure that we are less exposed to market fluctuations and then give us control of products marketing and supply. As we reduce reliance on imported refined products, we would be more competitive,’’ Rabiu added.

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