Buhari Not In Support Of Fuel Subsidy Removal – Petroleum Minister

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight on January 24, 2022.

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, says President Muhammadu Buhari is not in support of the removal of subsidy on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.

Rather, he explained that the Federal Government planned to complete consultations before coming out with a clear policy direction on the matter.

“I will tell you categorically that at this moment, the complete removal of subsidy is not on our plate at all,” said Sylva during this week’s edition of Channels Television’s Newsnight.

“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not in support of removing subsidy at this time,” he said.

READ ALSO: FG To Make Transport Subsidy Payment Digitally For At Least Six Months

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had in November last year hinted that Nigeria would effect the complete removal of fuel subsidy in June 2022 and replace them with a N5000-a-month transportation grant to the poorest Nigerians.

Amid mixed reactions over the issue, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, last Tuesday said President Buhari never directed the removal of fuel subsidy.


NOTE: Watch Newsnight on Channels TV at 9pm on Monday.


Sylva, on his part, explained that the President’s position in opposing fuel subsidy was predicated on its effect on citizens at the bottom of the pyramid.

He also identified some of the options the authorities were considering regarding the issue.

“We are working out the processes,” said the minister. “Of course, we all know that it is a desirable policy direction. Of course, we know that it will have some impacts on the people and that is why we are trying to work out some of those things.

“Until those details are worked out properly with (the organised) labour, and with all the stakeholders in the sector, we will not remove the subsidy. At this moment, it is not on our plate, I can tell you that.

“This is something that needs to be worked out between the Federal Government and the states because this is a federation issue. We are working with the governors to see how we can continue with this policy direction of subsidising fuel for the foreseeable future.”

Fuel Subsidy: FG Considering Autogas As Alternative Petrol, Says Sylva

President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Autogas Roll-out Initiative on December 2, 2020.

 

The Federal Government is considering autogas as an alternative to the Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.

This is according to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, who stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight amid plans by the government to remove subsidy on petrol.

He explained that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Economic Council, is also leading an effort in collaboration with state governors to discuss the government’s plans to unveil palliatives to the people.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill Two Officers, Abduct Policeman In Jigawa

“So we have to sit back together to now thinking about the process that can have the least effect on the people. That is why we are thinking of a lot of options like giving them an alternative fuel which will be cheaper and that is why we are looking at autogas,” the Minister said.

“We believe that will give an alternative so that if they find PMS too expensive, then they can have an alternative. Of course, we are looking at the impact it would have on their personal income and expenditure.

“The Vice President is also leading an effort, discussing palliatives to the people. All those are the things we are discussing. We need to bring everything together before we can now come out and say look this is the package we have and this is the policy direction towards subsidy removal.”

The Federal Government had in December 2022 rolled out an autogas programme called the National Gas Expansion Programme.

The programme involves the conversion of fuel-powered cars, generators from petrol to gas. It is aimed at deepening domestic usage of natural gas in its various forms.

After the launch, the government said that vehicle owners in the country will pay N250,000 to convert their cars to autogas.

Justice Derefaka, Technical Adviser on Gas Business and Policy Implementation to Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, had explained that vehicle owners will have different payment plans to covert their cars to autogas.

“The cost varies,” Derefaka said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. “So, in terms of cost implication, it depends on the cylinder of the vehicle and of course, for a typical SUV cylinder, it is a bit higher but on the average, it is around N200,000 to N250,000 and this is for a four-cylinder vehicle but it becomes a little bit higher for a six-cylinder SUV vehicle.”

Buhari Promises To Take Action On Cooking Gas Price Hike

Timipre Sylva

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is aware and concerned about the hike in the price of gas and is promising action to ameliorate the situation.

He said this while addressing State House correspondents after a meeting with the President in his office where he presented CEOs of two new agencies: the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) and the Nigerian Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) at the statehouse.

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The minister explained that the government has no control of the prices and rather, it is the international market that primarily determines the price of the commodity.

Sylva, however, assured Nigerians that some elements of the pricing will be adjusted internally to enable a reduction, particularly in view of the Yuletide season.

Sylva Inaugurates Committee To Implement Petroleum Industry Act

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, speaks at the inauguration of the Steering Committee for the Implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in Abuja on August 19, 2021.

 

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has inaugurated the Steering Committee for the Implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.

The inauguration ceremony held on Thursday in Abuja, a day after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of the committee with a directive to immediately commence the implementation of the PIA.

“To get us started on this all-important assignment, I hereby inaugurate the Steering Committee, as well as the Implementation Working Group/Coordinating Secretariat, and wish us all success in our collective quest to change the face of the Nigerian petroleum industry, to position it as a proactive catalyst for spurring sustainable economic growth of our beloved country,” the minister told members of the committee.

READ ALSO: NNPC Limited To Kick Off In Six Months – Sylva

“Given the timeline set by Mr President and the urgency of the implementation requirement, there is no gainsaying in the fact that total commitment to this assignment is a critical success factor.

“Undoubtedly, members of the steering committee possess the capacity to contribute to the transformation of the petroleum industry, and unlock the potentials that are replete in the entire value chain.”

Sylva urged the committee members to live up to their responsibility, saying a lot was expected of them from Nigerians and foreign stakeholders.

He stressed the need to do all that it takes to deliver on the assignment, in a manner that best achieves the collective vision for bringing the anticipated gains to the country.

According to the minister, the implementation working group/coordinating secretariat has the onerous task of developing the briefs that will be presented to the committee for consideration and approval.

He explained that the briefs would cover all the relevant subject matters contemplated by the law, including the design of the institutions, personnel movements, development of procedures and processes for the institutions, model contracts and regulations, and generally providing legal advice on implementation matters.

Sylva went on to reveal that the implementation working group/coordinating secretariat has been organised into four workstreams, to position the committee to get quality briefs.

He listed the workstreams to include legal, coordination and planning, communications and stakeholder management, as well as administration and finance.

“Each of these workstreams has distinct mandates and expected outcomes which will be presented to the steering committee for consideration and possible approval,” the minister said.

While approving the constitution of the committee, President Buhari had also directed that it has 12 months for the assignment.

He had decried that the lack of political will has hampered the growth of the industry, saying this has led to a loss of about $50 billion for the country in the last 10 years.

A lawyer, Olufemi Lijadu, is the External Legal Adviser, while the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) will serve as Head of the Coordinating Secretariat and the Implementation Working Group.

Other members include Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr Sani Gwarzo; and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari.

Others are Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami; President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Natural Resources, Dr Nuhu Habib; as well as representatives of the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

PIA: We Discussed With Labour Extensively, No Job Will Be Lost – Sylva

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva has assured that no job will be lost in the nation’s petroleum sector following the signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday signed the bill, thus providing a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.

Although there were fears in some quarters over the fate of workers in the petroleum sector, the minister says the move will instead create more jobs.

“We have already made provisions in the law to ensure that no job is lost in the oil industry as a result of the PIA,” the Minister said during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.

“So, no job will be lost as a result of the Petroleum Industry Act. All jobs in the petroleum industry will be intact.

“That was already taken into account, we discussed with labour extensively in the process of drafting the bill.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Approves Committee To Implement Petroleum Industry Act Immediately

When asked about the benefits for the oil workers, the Minister said he believes the workers have more to gain since the government does not pay as much as the private sector.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva addressed reporters in Abuja on August 17, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva addressed reporters in Abuja on August 17, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

While noting that the commercialisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will be beneficial to the workers, Sylva explained that the move would not create any problem at all.

The Minister also reacted to funds accruable to the federation account by the national firm, noting that money will still be disbursed to the national account.

He, however, explained that NNPC will not be in charge of the federation crude, explaining that the Offstream Regulatory Commission will sell the crude and remit the money to the nation’s account.

Two days after the bill was signed, the President approved a committee to immediately commence the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

The steering committee, which has 12 months for the assignment, is headed by the former Bayelsa State leader.

NNPC Limited To Kick Off In Six Months – Sylva

 

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will become a commercial company within six months, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said on Tuesday.

This follows the signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.

Mr Sylva, who was speaking at a press conference in Abuja, said a transitional committee is already in place to incorporate NNPC Limited.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Signs Petroleum Industry Bill Into Law

All shares in NNPC Limited are expected to be vested in the government at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance.

Mr Sylva noted that although the new petroleum act has deregulated the oil sector, subsidy policies will remain in place till further notice.

He said an implementation framework for actual deregulation will be established to mitigate the impact on ordinary Nigerians.

Why Nigeria’s Economy Is ‘Broken’ – Timipre Sylva

A file photo of a food trader at a market in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
A file photo of a food trader at a market in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has defended the handling of the nation’s economy by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He was responding to questions about the economy and other issues during his appearance on Thursday’s edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today.

While critics have accused the government of worsening the economy, Sylva put the blame on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led administration.

“What we inherited is like broken China (plate),” he said when asked about the state of the economy. “Somebody broke the China and arranged it very well on the table as if it was not broken.

“So, you came into the room, and you thought there was a China on the table and you tried to pick it up, and it just fell into pieces in your hands; who broke it, is it you or was it already broken?

“That was the kind of economy we inherited; we inherited an economy that was already broken. We tried to pick up the economy and it scattered in our hands.”

President Buhari won the 2015 presidential election on the strength of his campaign promises which bordered on fighting corruption, providing security, and improving the economy.

 

He has, however, been seriously criticised by individuals and groups – especially the opposition party – for the way the economy is being handled.

The criticism is triggered by the increase in the prices of food and other commodities, as well as the devaluation of the naira against the dollar, among others.

The present administration is, however, not bothered by the criticism, according to Sylva.

Instead, it will continue to step up efforts to better the lives of the people.

He is also confident that the ruling APC will be the party to beat in the general elections in 2023.

The minister is certain that Nigerians will vote for his party “over and over again”.

No Set Date For Removal Of Subsidy – Petroleum Ministry

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said that there is currently no set date for petrol subsidy removal.

Mr Sylva said this on Thursday, adding that the government is being considerate of citizens.

“I cannot give you a date for now. But the Vice President is actually leading the efforts and very soon, we will tell Nigerians what date the removal of subsidy will kick in,” said the minister who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

He said the government is also making efforts to put structures in place to cushion the effect of the eventual subsidy removal.


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“We must be considerate of our people; you cannot say because you have the muscle, box everybody down in the room. So, what we are saying is that before doing this, we need to put some structures in place so that the impact on the people can be minimized. We are trying to create an alternative that is cheaper and more affordable.

“We also think that there should be some palliatives,” the minister added.

FG Not The Best Manager Of Refineries – Petroleum Minister

By Akinola Ajibola

 

FG To Revive Refineries By 2019 – Kachikwu
A file photo of crude oil pipelines at refining site.

 

The Federal Government has admitted that it is not in the best position to manage the nation’s refineries.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, stated this during his appearance on Thursday’s edition of Politics Today.

“I will agree with you that government is not the best manager of refineries and that is why this time, we are actually going to have professional managers to manage the refineries; we are not going to manage the refinery at all,” he said on the Channels Television programme.

Despite the submission, the minister believes it will not be out of place if the government gets the refineries working before taking appropriate decisions.

He explained that the government does not subscribe to the idea of selling off the refineries in their present condition as such action would be widely criticised by citizens.

 

‘The Fairest Thing’

 

Sylva stated, “We believe that we should get the refinery back to life before we decide on the option of whether we are going to privatise or sell all the refineries.

“If we try to sell the refineries which you call dead refineries, you will be the one first persons to say we are selling dead refineries to people.”

He said the Muhammadu Buhari administration cannot be blamed for the present state of the facilities as it inherited damaged refineries.

Despite this, he said the government has decided to prove to Nigerians that the refineries can be fixed and put back into working condition.

After the refineries have been fixed, the minister believes Nigerians can then decide what to do about them.

“We want to sell live refineries; refineries that are working and I think that is the fairest thing for the government to do and that is why we have decided to get all our refineries working.

“We want to prove to you that we can get these refineries working,” he said.

Addax OMLs Controversy Won’t Affect China-Nigeria Relations, Says Ambassador

The Chinese ambassador says Nigeria’s relationship with the Asian country is intact. Photo: [email protected] fmprng

 

China’s ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun has assured the federal government that the cancellation of Addax Petroleum’s licences will not mar the Asian nation’s relations with the West African country.

The Chinese ambassador gave the assurance when he visited Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva in Abuja on Thursday.

“The two top officials agreed on excellent relations that exist between their two countries and expressed the need to deepen partnership,” read a statement from the special adviser to the minister, Garba Mohammad.

“Among other issues, they both agreed that the recent revocation of some OMLs held by Addax was purely a commercial decision and will not have any impact on the excellent relationship between the two countries.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria Signs Oil Deal To Unlock $10bn Investment

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva (L) with the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, CUI Jianchun. Photo: [email protected] fmprng

 

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had on March 30 revoked the oil mining licences (OMLs) 123, 124, 126 and 137 held by Addax Petroleum, a firm owned by China’s Sinopec Group.

DPR’s move was due to the below-par development of the assets. The agency said more than 50 percent of the assets were undeveloped, a situation it said had cost a revenue leakage to the government.

But Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, restored ownership of the OMLs to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Addax Petroleum.
The NNPC is operating the licences with the company through a production sharing contract.

NASS To Pass Petroleum Industry Bill By April, Says Sylva

A file photo of the National Assembly complex in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

 

The National Assembly will pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently before it by April 2021, Mr Timipre Sylva has said.

Sylva, who is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, disclosed this on Thursday at the weekly presidential ministerial media briefing at the State House in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He told reporters that the bill would not suffer a setback, going by all indications from the leadership of the National Assembly.

The minister stated that if the nation must diversify from petroleum, it must go in the direction of gas.

He stressed the importance for Nigeria to steer away from oil to gas, adding that the 20-year-old PIB would attract a lot of investments to the gas sector.

On the issue of having functional refineries in the country, Sylva faulted Senator Dino Melaye’s analysis of the proposed rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery.

According to him, Melaye is no expert on refinery and should, therefore, not impress his views on an area he is not conversant with.

The minister said the Federal Government remained committed to its promise to deliver a functional refinery to Nigerians in due time.

While the government plans to spend $1.5 billion to fund the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery in Rivers State, several individuals and groups say this will add to the nation’s debt burden.

But Sylva has since doused the concerns, saying the government does not intend to borrow all the funds to rehabilitate the refinery which he said would be functional in 18 months.

In a recent interview with Channels Television, he disclosed that a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC) – and others would contribute the money to be used for the project.

According to the minister, $200 million will come from NNPC’s internally generating revenue sources, while the Federal appropriation will put in about $800 million.

He added that the remaining fund would come from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

$1.5bn Refinery Project: Nigerians Should Hold Me Accountable For Every Cent – Sylva

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has promised to ensure that every cent of the $1.5 billion proposed for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery is accounted for.

He made the pledge during an interview aired on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics where he boldly looked at the camera and asked Nigerians to hold him responsible in the event of anything otherwise.

“I can look at the camera; they (Nigerians) can hold me accountable and hold this government accountable for every dollar, every cent on this project and ensure that we deliver a refinery that works,” the minister said.

The decision of the Federal Government to rehabilitate the refinery in Rivers State with the sum has triggered debates in the country.

While the government’s critics accused it of corruption, others were concerned that adding such an amount of money to the country’s debt burden would be dangerous.

Sylva, however, stated that there was no cause for alarm as the government does not intend to borrow all the funds to rehabilitate the refinery.

He noted that a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC) – and others would contribute the money to be used for the project.

In this screengrab taken on March 21, 2021, Mr Timipre Sylva looks at the camera as he assures Nigerians that the fund will be spent on the purpose it is meant for.

 

According to the minister, part of the money will come from NNPC’s internally generated revenue and the Federal appropriation, while a little fraction will come from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

He also explained how the repayment plan was designed, saying the operations of the refinery would pay back the funds to be used.

“The NNPC is going to spend about $200 million from its internally generating revenue sources, while the Federal appropriation will put in about $800 million and it is already broken down into three parts,” he disclosed.

Sylva added, “The 2020 appropriation will give $350 million, 2021 appropriation will give another $350 million, and 2022 appropriation will give another $100 million, making it all $800 million from appropriation, and then the rest of it will now come from Afreximbank.”