The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ebe Kachikwu, has said petrol will be sold below N87 per litre from January 2016. Speaking at Port Harcourt Refinery and Petrochemicals yesterday, the minister said he has already approved the new template for petrol price and it will take off in January.
Kachikwu said the new template has removed many of the unnecessary charges for petrol import. He said the new template has removed many unnecessary charges and taxes on petrol import which will guarantee discharging fuel at lower prices. The minister said he was at the refinery to see the progress made so far in the maintenance exercise which is supposed to culminate by the end of December.
“With what’s on ground, by next week the refinery will commence production and it will be contributing about 5 million liters of petrol a day,” Kachikwu said, adding that efforts to fix the pipelines are on. He attributed the fuel scarcity to some distribution challenges which he said was due to the absence of pipelines.
To solve the problem of fuel transportation, Kachikwu said he has discussed with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to release some monies to immediately settle cost of transporters and transportation margins. According to him, there was a mistake in the first place to add the money for the Petroleum Equalization Fund because it was not money for the government, but the common pool for the marketers.
The minister said the problem has been solved and very soon the transporters will get their claims settled.
Kachikwu added that it has become clear that government earnings are dipping on daily basis. His words: “I signed off on it yesterday (Thursday). I imagined that in the next couple of days the marketers would get advice on that. The nice thing about the PPPRA, where I signed up on it yesterday, is that the price will be far below N87. We have gone to find out how we will be able fluctuate this market to reflect what the reality of crude market is. The objective is that we cannot afford to continue to subsidize.” He added that it is unclear where the subsidies were going to, adding, “There is a lot of fraud elements in it so we need to cut that off.”
Kachikwu submitted that from the application market realities for the pricing modulation, government has discovered that petrol would sell for either N85 or N86 per litre. He recalled that it was from this axiom that President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the price of petrol remains at N87.
On the security of the pipelines, he said that government had tried stopping the menace with military intervention, to no avail before it engaged some private contractors who had worked with the majors. According to him, the private contractors have taken over Atlas Cove, Mosimi, and they will be extending the surveillance to Ilorin between yesterday and today. They will also look at the Port Harcourt and Aba axis, he stressed.
Other products to come from the refineries, said Kachikwu, are AGO, kero and others. He added: “Kaduna will still be doing 2.3million. Let’s start from there.”