Uche Usim, Abuja
Barring unforeseen circumstances, President Muhammadu Buhari will on June 30 flag off the $2.8 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline construction.
The project is a 614km-long natural gas pipeline currently being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, made the disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday while inaugurating a ‘Committee on Gas Sector-wide Review of the Domestic Gas Pricing Framework, with the responsibility of evaluating and reviewing the price of gas in the country.
The minister underscored the need for an appropriate price regime that will be beneficial to the manufacturing industry, Nigerians, and the gas sector at large.
Sylva said “without appropriate pricing, we can’t get it right. We have to ensure that gas becomes affordable. It is sad to note that we sell gas cheaply to investors while the price is high in the domestic market to the extent that some Nigerians say diesel is cheaper than gas”.
Sylva noted that Nigeria has a lot of gas deposit, and that once we are able to solve our gas problems, we would have solved a lot of problems in Nigeria.
Addressing members of the committee, the Minister said the committee was deliberately enlarged and structured to accommodate people with diverse opinions, dedication and commitment.
He listed the terms of reference of the committee to include; the review of domestic gas price and benchmark, make recommendations for appropriate gas price for the respective gas sectors, make evaluations, and technical suggestions. The committee has 30 days to submit its report.
Chairman of the committee, Yusuf Usman, Chief Operating, Officer Gas and Power, while speaking on behalf of the committee, expressed delight at the privilege given to serve, pledging to deliver in line with their mandate and in record time. He assured the minister that the committee would evaluate the price of gas in line with global standards.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has come under heavy criticism from the the civil society groups who frowned at their exclusion from the processes leading to the forthcoming 2020 marginal oil fields bid round.
The civil societies, in a statement on Wednesday, noted with dismay that such deliberate exclusion casts a slur on the intentions of the government to run a transparent bid process.