Economists and petrol marketers have expressed diverse views on the workability of three proposals made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to the meeting of the Joint Committees on Petroleum (Downstream) in the National Assembly last week, to resolve the current fuel scarcity, Premium Times reports.
The options being considered include, “a regime of flexible tax-waiver window to accommodate the extra cost elements in the fuel pricing template”, “introduction of an exchange rate modulation programme for marketers” and a “price plurality regime to allow marketers sell at different a price from the NNPC’s”.
While economists say the proposals are open to corruption and will not work efficiently, the marketers see it as a good initiative to resolve the recurrent fuel scarcity. The marketers while agreeing, however said the options would only work if certain measures were adopted to curb corruption and abuses and only if the number of fuel importers were limited to about 11, or 15 maximum.
The economists however noted that once another Forex window was opened for fuel marketers outside the official window, people would take undue advantage of the gap to the disadvantage of the system. They also noted the negative opportunity cost in terms of money that could have been used to improve education, healthcare and other infrastructure.