By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged regulators in the petroleum industry to do what is best for Nigeria, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said on Tuesday.The minister, who disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents, said the President also expressed satisfaction with the level of implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.
He said although the price of the essential commodity is not regulated by Nigeria, some steps would be taken internally, to provide some relief, ahead of the yuletide season.“We must understand that cooking gas is not subsidized. It is already a deregulated commodity so the price is not determined by government or anybody here in Nigeria. Infact, gas prices a re determined internationally.
The minister emphasised that the rise in price of gas is not peculiar to Nigeria because the same scenario obtains in Europe and other parts of the world. On the transition of cars form the use of petrol to gas, the minister said government needs about six billion naira for the procurement of kits to convert the first one million cars as well as facilitate the procurement of equipment that will enable gas pump stations come on board.The minister also disclosed that the President has directed him to proceed to Nenbe in Bayelsa State for an on the spot assessment of an oil spillage there and report back.Sylva said the President is worried over the mater and says all must be f=done to address the problem without delay.Contributing, the Chief Executive Officer of the Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Farouk Ahmed said the marginal queues witnessed at filling stations in Abuja and some parts of the country were caused by the payment logistics in US dollars by depot owners but the problem is being rectified.“Basically, what happened is that some of the depot owners selling petroleum motor spirit above the official ex-depot price of N148, they are selling at N156 or N157.
The reason is that they are paying for their logistics like shipping and Port charges and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) charges in US dollars and they have to go to parallel market to source for the dollars and the differential between the official exchange rate and the parallel market is their reason for adding between nine and ten naira.
“But we had a meeting on Tuesday, 9th November and the heads of the Nigeria Ports Authority and NIMASA as well as other stakeholders were all there and it was resolved that NNPC excess capacity vessels would be chattered to oil marketing companies and they would be charging in naira and NIMASA and the Ports Authority will also revert back to their supervising ministries and get directives to collect their charges in naira rather than US dollars.