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How to end fuel subsidy dilemma, by Kyari

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Mele Kyari

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has declared that the country can no longer sustain subsidy, insisting that the corporation has been burdened by the fuel subsidy dilemma even without budgetary provisions.

He made the assertion, yesterday, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Anticorruption and Financial Crimes to assess the level of implementation of the National Anti-corruption Strategy 2017-2021.

He, therefore, sought the National Assembly’s support on complete deregulation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.

“The issue needs the help of not only this committee, but also of the National Assembly to achieve results in ensuring that the price of petrol is not regulated and have a framework that will protect Nigerians from undue exploitation.

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“We know the way to resolve the subsidy issue is to ensure that PMS is fully deregulated. It is a policy issue, which I am also aware that the National Assembly is involved in some of the engagements to make sure that we have a lasting exit.

“That is the solution to the subsidy dilemma. What is happening now is that NNPC buys the product at a price higher than the N162. We practically discount and sell to marketers, because we can’t shift from the current price to the market price,” he stated.

He maintained that until that engagement, which must involve all stakeholders, including the National Assembly, adding that once that was completed, there would no longer be issues around it.

“In the 2020 and 2021 budgets, there are no provisions for subsidy.

In 2020, COVID-19 pandemic came and threw a big challenge in the oil industry and prices collapsed to extremely low levels. Countries were not buying crude oil.

“The reaction of producers community was to reduce production, because the demand was not there so that when the prices normalise we can go. We became part of that relationship and as a country, that was the best decision at the time,” he added.

He lamented that the #ENDSARS protest also made it impossible to increase prices at the time, because there was opposition to change in fuel price to the extent that there were engagements with organised labour and other groups.

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