No Plan To Remove Subsidy, Says Sylva
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Sylva, says there is no plan for the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to remove subsidy on petroleum products.
Sylva stated this on Thursday when he appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Petroleum to defend the ministry’s budget.
The Minister noted that rather than removing subsidy, the Federal Government will rather focus on fixing the nation’s refineries.
He explained that once the refineries are fixed, it will be easy to make petroleum products available at a cheaper amount that will ease the burden of subsidy payment.
“If I talk about fixing the refineries, that’s also another way of dealing with the same issue. If we fix the refinery and we are able to pump from the refineries, that will also reduce the cost of subsidy on the government,” he said.
“So the government is looking at it more from that angle than from the angle of removing subsidy. So it is not on the card at all.”
Contrary to the speculation that the nation consumes about 60 million barrels of petrol per day, the minister refuted the claim.
He regretted that some neighbouring countries were smuggling the petroleum products to the detriment of the Federal Government.
“There is a lot of smuggling and because petroleum products are cheaper in Nigeria, a lot of our neighbours are taking advantage of the cheaper prices in Nigeria.
“So Nigeria is now almost subsidizing half of Africa which is very difficult for us to do. So you can see that the government is doing something about controlling some of these leakages. And once those leakages are checked, we believe that the cost of subsidy can be at least bearable,” he stated.
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