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Published On: Fri, Jan 17th, 2020

FG hints of imminent fuel price hike

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  • Plans compressed natural gas as alternative to petrol

By Etuka Sunday

The Federal Government yesterday disclosed plans to increase the price of fuel in the nearest future, therefore, said, it was considering Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as alternative to Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) so as to crash the price.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva gave the hint at the Maiden Press Briefing since assumption of office at the Ministry in Abuja.

Chief Sylva said, the Pilot programme for the CNG as alternative to PMS was on, adding that over 10,000 vehicles are on it in Benin.

Meanwhile, experts said, running vehicles on CNG will greatly reduce the friction and troubles encountered in importing fuel into the country.

This, they said would also cut down largely the hardly available foreign exchange expended in bringing in PMS for fuelling vehicles.

However, Sylva said, “when you ask if we are thinking about increasing the price of fuel, I will reasonably say yes, and I know all of you will wonder why I said yes.why I said yes is because we are thinking of giving the masses an alternative.

“What we want to do going forward, is to see that we move the masses to CNG. If you move the masses to CNG, and take all the tranpsort vehicles in the first instance to use CNG, you will see that it is the only contact with the poorest of our population. CNG cost less than even the subsidised PMS. A per litre of PMS is N145, CNG will cost N95 to N97 per litre.

“We believe that when we have given alternative, and Nigerians are used to the alternative, they will not even notice when the subsidy on PMS is removed. That is the alternative we are working on and we will start very soon to rollout.

“Already there is a pilot programme in Benin and that pilot programme has worked for a long time and about 10, 000 vehicles are already on CNG in Benin. So, we want to expand our CNG programme across the country and we believe it is going to create a lot of opportunities for Nigerians and also a new lease of life because they will access their fuels cheaper,” he said.

He expressed optimism that the harmonisation and passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be done speedily with consideration to the concerns raised by the industry players to create an enabling environment for investors as well as appropriate Government take in all the oil and gas value chain.

“Counting on the current harmony between the Executive and Legislatve arms of the Government, we are optimistic that both the Petroleum Industry Governance, Administration & Host Communities Bill on one hand and Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill on the other will be passed within the first anniversary of this administration,” he said.

The Minister said, it was important that the PIB was passed before any bid round.

“New Gridding, acreage management and bidding process are thoroughly elucidated in the upcoming Petroleum Industry Bills. It is therefore highly desirable that the Bills are passed before any bid round. This is one of the reason we implore Nigerians to support us in our quest to pass the bills in earnest,” he said.

The Sylva said, efforts are on going to address security situations around oil and gas installation, specifically to curtail theft of petroleum product and crude oil.

To address the challenges, he said, Technology would be deployed for pro-active leak detection, Community participation in the oil and gas assets, Engage PTI in the training of unemployed youths in the region, Encouraging Modular Refineries.Continuous Sensitization of the Host Communities and Storage Facilities would be provided.

He said, government can not effectively manage the existing refineries, therefore, plans are on to finalize rehabilitation of refineries and other midstream infrastructures and emplacing Operarating and Maintenance (O&M) contracts for the management of the assets.

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