Dr Bello Rabiu, Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has called for the need to harmonise tariff on non-ECOWAS goods to promote better economic cooperation with regards to non-oil exports.
Rabiu made the observation at the panel session of West African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (WAIPEC) organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.
NAN reports that the session is tagged: How Nigerian and West African Market can better Compete in a Weak and Disruptive oil Market.
Rabiu who was represented by Dr Siky Aliyu, Managing Director, National Engineering and Technical Company (NETCO) said that the harmonization will expectedly counter the effects of smuggling across the ECOWAS borders.
According to him, the tariff harmonization will spur coastal countries to work towards making their ports preferred import destinations to attract greater trade flows and by extension fiscal revenues.
“It will promote trade amongst West African countries and by extension ECOWAS can forge partnerships with Europe, Asia etc. for the export of their Agricultural produce.
Rabiu aid that there 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 amongst 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,’’ he said.
The NNPC upstream boss said that there is need for new investment in refining capacity to grow and sustain internal consumption and promote external trade amongst West-African countries.
He said that there are plans to increase capacities in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Niger Republic, with regards to the Nigeria, it is private-sector led – Dangote Refinery which is proposed as a 650,000bopd 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.
According to him, based on the foregoing, it is imperative that we need to balance high crude output with high refining capacities to reduce imports costs and charges, export charges, subsidy payments etc.
“This will effectively position us to get more value from the crude fractions 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 said.