The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has given his assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill, which will terminate petrol subsidies in Nigeria, according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
Sylva made the announcement at a news conference in Abuja celebrating 50 years of partnership between Nigeria and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
He emphasized that it was in Nigeria’s best interests for the Federal Government to stop subsidizing petrol, pointing out that the recently enacted PIB had no provision for subsidies.
“This (subsidy elimination) is desirable for Nigeria’s interest and growth,” the minister stated. Of course, everyone has their own viewpoints, but from my vantage point, I believe that eliminating subsidies is the best thing for Nigeria, not just the business.
“At this time, the stakeholder dialogues are still underway. But I’ll also point out that if the President signs the PIB today, subsidy will become a matter of law, because the PIB already states that petroleum products would be supplied at market-determined prices.”
He added, “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.”
The petroleum minister also stated that the government would soon commence the renovation of the Warri and Kaduna refineries in order to boost domestic gasoline refining and mitigate the impact of the subsidy elimination.
He said that Nigeria’s OPEC allotment for crude oil output in June 2021 was 1.554 million barrels per day, and that the quota system had helped to stabilize world oil prices.
By Olutayo Olusanya