Nigeria, according to Minister of Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva, needs to get away from the petrol subsidy regime in order to eliminate its ‘opaqueness.’
Nigeria’s daily petrol usage estimates, according to Sylva, are “crazy.”
“There is nothing on the subsidy matter that has not been questioned,” the minister said on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Tuesday.
Yinka Omorogbe, president of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economists (NAEE), said Nigeria should look at how many litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) it consumes, as well as the difference between landing cost and subsidy.
In response to her remark, Sylva pointed out that the estimates for Nigeria’s petroleum usage are exaggerated.
“But we should just sit down and interrogate that subsidy, subsidy price and see what we are paying for it and what’s in the landing costs,” Sylva said.
“There have been efforts at controlling smuggling. And then something dramatic happened. When we had the deregulation discussions, and the price moved up to N162 from N145 where I met it, we realised that the consumption dropped to less than 50 million litres or 40 million.
“So, later on, once the exchange rate also now moved up a little bit and swallowed the gains we made from the N162 move, the figures increased again.
“And sometimes, the figures you hear are crazy. I mean, when they tell you 90 million litres a day, I mean, they’re crazy figures. So I mean, so for me, what is the total of all this? We’ve been interrogating these numbers for 20 years.
“We continue to interrogate these figures because we all know that there is a problem here, it’s opaque.
“The opportunity, the premium is not coming to government and it is not going to the poor people. It is going to a select people who are feeding fat on these things.
“So why don’t we just get rid of this thing? Okay, we should interrogate this thing, but I mean, to me, that is not the solution. Why don’t we just get rid of this whole subsidy so that we know that this problem is over once and for all?
“I mean, we agree that the figures are all opaque. We agree. That’s why we are saying look, let’s stop all the shenanigans. Let’s stop all this discussion.
“Let’s leave all this opaqueness, all this corruption in the subsidy, let us move away from subsidy and go on higher ground. And then they say no.
“There’s been trials of subsidy thieves. We’ve gone on television to say okay, these are the templates, these are the components of the templates.”