Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Thursday disclosed that Nigeria currently records about N1.4 trillion yearly as under-recovery from its importation and sale of petrol at the government regulated pump price of N145 per litre.
Speaking at a meeting in Abuja where stakeholders in Nigeriaâ€™s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) sector met to review the challenges of the LPG market and find ways to mainstream it into the countryâ€™s fuel market, Kachikwu explained that it was time Nigeria began to look at alternative fuel sources like LPG which are clean and less expensive for the country.
He also stated that President Muhammadu Buhari would in the next two months launch an infrastructure rebirth plan with which the country would leverage to attract private finance to upgrade her oil and gas infrastructure.
“Clean energy is very essential and we need to move away from complete utilisation in our transport sector of only PMS which is creating a lot of under-recovery of N1.4 trillion per annum of exposure to the government,” said Kachikwu.
He further explained: “At the end of the day, we begin to go into other components of cleaner fuels and rely less on the PMS that is gotten from out of the country.”
When asked to clarify if the current figure on petrol under-recovery was annually and how the federal government felt about it, the minister said: “Yes, currently. That is being addressed at a very high level and I don’t want to go into that.”
In March, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), disclosed that its current expenditure on petrol subsidy was N774 million daily, and that the 50 million litres of petrol was consumed across the country everyday.
NNPCâ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, described the amount as â€œunder-recovery,â€ adding that the huge fund was due to the proliferation of filling stations in communities with international land and coastal borders across the country.
Kachikwu, also indicated that the government would launch an infrastructure rebirth plan for the oil and gas industry. The rebirth plan he noted would enable private investors put in money in key infrastructure assets across the entire value chain of the sector.
“I think government is focused in all the areas. We are hoping to launch an infrastructure rebirth map for the oil sector over the next two months, and I hope his excellency, the president will launch that.
“The effect is that it will be to open up tariff and create policy positions that will enable people to actually go in and invest in critical infrastructure that is needed because anywhere you go, whether it is distribution of petroleum products massively through trucks and rather than through pipelines, whether it is been able to take crude into refineries or distribute gas throughout the country, infrastructure is so key.
“There are lots of stranded gas and power everywhere. Distribution is key, infrastructure is key. We need to find a way of finding enough incentives to enable the private sector go in very bullishly and put the money where it is supposed to be,” he explained.
On the significance of the LPG meeting, he said: “Coming from this meetings we are having, we will come up with recommendations of what DPR needs th do to deepen licensing issues and enforcement issues, but over and above just going after individuals who have done it wrongly; what are the incentives, schemes and structures we need to put in place, and it just goes to tell u where the storage capacities for the gas we have been buying; where are the official distribution and sales centers. If we deepen the regulation, deepen the licensing and enforcement, we should be able to get there.”
“But like you know, we already have a gas policy which was approved at FEC and all of this is in there. What this group is going to do is to take a piece of that as it concerns LPG and say how we can take that policy document and expand and activate the whole LPG,” he added.