The Federal Government has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) to reduce the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Monday said that NNPC is selling petrol at a loss.
Sylva’s remarks came as oil marketers stated that the supply hitches in the downstream oil sector that often leads to fuel scarcity, might persist till June, based on the government’s plan to end petrol subsidy in that month.
Sylva while speaking in Abuja said, “The management of the supply situation under this subsidy regime is not easy. We must all agree that so much money is being burnt in our cars, but somehow we have to put funds to continue to keep the country wet.
“Sometimes if you really think deeply you begin to wonder what magic we are doing to be able to keep this country wet consistently. Considering that you buy something, let’s say for N10, and you are to sell it at a loss.
“And then you are expected to go back to buy the same thing, and come back again to sell it at a loss. So at every point in time you are looking for more money to continue to buy it, because you’re mandated to sell it at a loss.
The Minister added, “So if you are a businessman, look at it from this perspective, that you are now in the business where you are mandated to sell at a loss to the public. That is not an easy job, I must tell you.”
In a response to how he would feel when buying petrol at N300/litre.
Sylva said: “If you ask me how I will feel as a private citizen to buy petrol at N300/litre, sadly, I will say I won’t feel bad, knowing the actual situation. And if you compare Nigeria to other countries, you will understand.
The minister added, “When you convert the N300/litre that you are talking about to other currencies, then you will understand. A lot of you travel to the United Kingdom or the United States, how much do you buy petroleum products there? Even in Arab communities that produce crude oil.”
According to him, the cost of the product is not high enough in comparison to other countries and stated that the general agreement is that the petrol subsidy is longer sustainable.
“Unfortunately we are still in a subsidised regime, which all of us know. As a country, I think it is a national consensus now that subsidy is not sustainable, but together we will get there.”