The Minister of State for petroleum, Timipre Sylva has announced that the controversial petrol subsidy regime in Nigeria will end totally as soon as President Muhammadu Buhari signs the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
Sylva made the submission on Monday while speaking at the Nigeria/Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries: 50 Years of Partnership press conference in Abuja.
He explained that the recently passed PIB doesn’t have any provision for fuel subsidy and once signed into law by the President, the price of petrol in Nigeria will be determined by market forces.
According to the Minister, ending the petrol subsidy regime is in the best interest of Nigeria as a nation and Nigerians as a people.
He said, “This (subsidy removal) is desirable for the interest and growth of Nigeria. Of course, everybody will have their perspectives, but from where I sit, I believe that subsidy removal is the best thing for Nigeria, not just the industry.
“So far, the discussions with stakeholders are still ongoing. But I will also bring it to your attention that today, when the President assents to the PIB, subsidy will become a matter of law, because it is already in the PIB that petroleum products will be sold at market determined prices.”
The Minister added that, “The removal of subsidy has the potential of unlocking a lot more funds for deployment to development. Unfortunately, what we are doing by way of subsidy is like cutting our nose to spite our face.”
Sylva added that the rehabilitation of the Warri and Kaduna refineries will soon begin and is expected to cushion the impact of subsidy removal with increased local refining of petrol.
He said the OPEC quota given to Nigeria for crude oil production in June 2021 was 1.554 million barrels per day and that the quota system had helped in balancing oil prices globally.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress-led government has been accused by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Emeka Kalu of breeding the socio-economic and security challenges affecting Nigeria.
Kalu in his statement lamented that the political space which should serve as a platform for administering unity, love and speedy development has now been employed for corruption and marginalization.