Uche Usim, Abuja
As Nigerians seek a further reduction in the price of petrol, the Minister of State (Petroleum Resources) Mr Timipre Marlin Sylva has said that oil marketers alone would not be allowed to determine the price of the commodity despite the fact that the product, at the moment has been deregulated.
He said the move stems from the urgent need to protect the public from undue exploitation and inordinate profiteering the importers.
The minister also commended the Saudi Arabia government over the country’s voluntary reduction in its daily crude production by over one million barrels.
Speaking at a recent media parley, the minister emphasised that the role of government in a deregulated environment was to provide a shield for the teeming consumers through the operations of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) which would use its price modulation mechanism to engender a market-driven price regime.
The minister further said the PPPRA would work with marketers closely to ensure that the best pricing is achieved.
Sylvia said he was not just announcing deregulation but also wanted everyone to understand what deregulation meant. He explained that deregulation was approved on March 19th of March.
‘Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and other petroleum products are very strategic commodities, so marketers should not be allowed to determine prices of these commodities,’ the minister said.
Mr Sylva also said that the Consumer Protection Agency would fix a price so that nobody can profiteer inordinately from the people.
The minister reiterated that due to the price of petroleum products, especially PMS, the ministry was working closely with stakeholders for an alternate fuel via the revamp and aggressive introduction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel.
He described CNG as a more stable and cheaper fuel, stating also that the introduction of CNG would provide consumers with a viable alternative, noting that elaborate arrangements had been emplaced to make the CNG option a working alternative to PMS.
Mr Sylva revealed that the ministry was working on an extensive Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) penetration campaign which, apart from providing a veritable source of cooking fuel, would serve as a massive outlet for job creation across an expanded value chain.
According to the minister, on the planned auction of marginal fields, the bid session would take place before the end of the year.
He, however, was quick to explain that the bid for bigger acreages which would be on offer, concessions in the shallow offshore and deep offshore assets would be dependent on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill due to the need to stabilise the fiscal framework.