Following the total removal of subsidy from petroleum products today, the Minister of State for Petroleum, who also doubles as the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu has outlined three benefits Nigerians should expect from the new petroleum product regime.
In a statement credited to the minister, Kachikwu said;
- The government expected that the new policy would “lead to improved supply and competition and eventually drive down pump prices, as we have experienced with diesel.
- “In addition, this will also lead to increased product availability and encourage investments in refineries and other parts of the downstream sector.
- “It will also prevent diversion of petroleum products and set a stable environment for the downstream sector in Nigeria.’’
The pump price of petrol in Nigeria was almost increased by 100 per cent today to N145, from N86.50, ending a fraudulent regime of subsidy that has dogged the Nigerian economy for decades.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu said the decision was taken at the end of the stakeholders meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to the statement, any Nigerian is free to import the product and sell at a price not above N145 per litre.
“In order to increase and stabilise the supply of the product, any Nigerian entity is now free to import the product subject to existing quality specifications and other guidelines issued by Regulatory Agencies.
“All oil marketers will be allowed to import PMS on the basis of FOREX procured from secondary sources and accordingly PPPRA template will reflect this in the pricing of the product.
“Pursuant to this, PPPRA has informed me that it will be announcing a new price band effective today, 11th May, 2016 and that the new price for PMS will not be above N145 per litre,’’ the minister said.
Kachikwu said that the government shared the pains of Nigerians but, “the inherited difficulties of the past and the challenges of the current times imply that we must take difficult decisions on these sorts of critical national issues’’.
He said that along with the decision, the federal government had in the 2016 budget made an unprecedented social protection provisions to cushion the current challenges.
“We believe in the long term, that improved supply and competition will drive down prices.
“The DPR and PPPRA have been mandated to ensure strict regulatory compliance including dealing decisively with anyone involved in hoarding petroleum products,’’ the minister added.
The minister said that the stakeholders’ meeting had reviewed the current fuel scarcity and supply difficulties in the country and the exhorbitant prices being paid by Nigerians for the product.
He said that the meeting observed that prices ranged on the average from N150 to N250 per litre.
He said the meeting also noted that the main reason for the current problem “is the inability of importers of petroleum products to source foreign exchange at the official rate’’.
According to him, this is due to the massive decline of foreign exchange earnings of the federal government.
He said that as a result, private marketers were unable to meet their approximate 50 per cent portion of total national supply of PMS.
He said that following a detailed presentation by him, it “has now become obvious that the only option and course of action now open to the government is to take the decisions’’.
Kachikwu said the meeting had in attendance the leadership of the Senate, House of Representatives, Governors Forum, and Labour Unions .