The Federal Government is proposing the addition of the costs of managing the national strategic stocks of petroleum products to the retail price of the commodities.
The proposal, which is included in the 2020 Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, currently before the National Assembly, might lead to a hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, as well as kerosene and diesel, going forward.
This means that on the passage and signing into law of the PIB, the price of petrol might rise, other things being equal, as the cost of managing the national strategic fuel stocks would, from then, form an integral component of the pricing template of petroleum products pricing and would determine the pump price of the commodities.
Current components of the pricing template, apart from the landing cost, is the National Transportation Average, NTA; NPA charges, marketers margin and transportation costs.
The Federal Government had, few years back, proposed the inclusion of a certain amount of money as road maintenance charges and fuel tax in the retail price of petrol, but had to suspend the plan, because of resistance from Nigerians.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, which is the body that would emerge from the scrapping of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF, is to be saddled with the responsibility of setting up and managing the national strategic stocks of petroleum products.
The PIB is proposing that that the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority would determine the amount to be charged as levy for financing the strategic petroleum products' reserves, which would form part of the retail price of each of the petroleum products.
It is also mandating the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority to work with security agencies in deciding areas of the country where the national strategic stocks would be maintained and distributed.
The PIB stated that: "The Authority shall: establish, administer and ensure the storage and distribution of the national strategic stocks of petroleum products in accordance with regulations issued by the Authority;
"Determine and publish the amount to be charged as a levy for the financing of the national strategic stock, which shall form part of the retail price of each petroleum product, such levy to be determined as a percentage of the retail price and be deducted on wholesale basis; and
"Designate, in consultation with the appropriate authorities and national security agencies, the strategic locations across the country where the national strategic stocks shall be distributed and maintained."
The PIB is also proposing that facilities and infrastructure which are to be specifically defined by the soon-to-be-established Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority for the storage of national strategic stocks would be exempted from the provisions of the law relating to open access.
In addition to managing the national strategic stocks of petroleum products, the PIB is saddling the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority with other functions, including regulating and monitoring technical and commercial midstream and downstream petroleum operations in Nigeria.
The authority is also to regulate commercial midstream and downstream petroleum operations, including: petroleum liquids operations, domestic natural gas operations, and export natural gas operations.
It is also to determine appropriate tariff methodology for processing of natural gas, transportation and transmission of natural gas, transportation of crude oil, and bulk storage of crude oil and natural gas.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority would set cost benchmarks for midstream and downstream petroleum operations; provide pricing and tariff frameworks for natural gas in midstream and downstream gas operations and petroleum products based on the fair market value of the applicable petroleum products.
It would also be its duties to advise the government, government agencies and other stakeholders on commercial matters relating to tariff and pricing frameworks; and develop open access rules applicable to petroleum liquids and natural gas transportation pipelines, terminal facilities and bulk storage facilities.