From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The National Association of Bitumen Marketers and Distributors of Nigeria has called for ban on imported bitumen, saying that the importation of the product is running them out of business.
The Association stated this during a press conference to express the implication of the imported bitumen, otherwise known as coal-tar in local parlance on their business. The National Secretary of the Association, Mr. Emma Olelewe said the imported product is cheaper than the locally produced one.
Olelewe added that because of this development, business men who have the capacity to import the product are smiling to the banks, while members of the association are walloping in incapacitation as they could not afford to buy the locally produced bitumen.
He pointed out that even if they should afford to purchase the local roduct, they would run into a loss since the end users have higher patronage for the imported commodity.
He disclosed that the association has written to the Senate Committee,
House Committee on downstream as well as relevant authorities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) at different times on the issue to no avail.
He said, “The price of the locally produced bitumen is N147, 825.00
per metric ton ex-Kaduna Refinery Depot, without transportation.
“The landing cost of imported bitumen to Nigeria which is mostly imported by foreigners is N105,000.00 per metric ton, while the importers deliver to construction companies at N150,000.00 per metric ton inclusive of transport to anywhere in Nigeria thereby pushing Nigerians out of jobs.
“The massive importation of bitumen is a big threat to the locally produced bitumen available at the Kaduna Refinery.
“The question now is, why should imported bitumen be cheaper than locally produced bitumen”?
“Since Mr. President is a listening leader, we therefore appeal to him to use his good office to save the bitumen sub-sector by increasing the import duty on imported bitumen which is just 5% as has been done to rice importation and very recently fairly used cars (Tokunbo).
He also disclosed that the association had in July 2013 written to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, National Assembly, on the high cost of bitumen in Nigeria and its effect on the economy.
He read the letter in part, “We are therefore compelled to write this letter to you and your committee to know that our failure to patronize this very important product in preference to imported ones may not be unconnected to alleged deliberate policy by PPMC to sabotage our economy and good intention of your committee on works and by extension the transformation agenda of the Federal Government.