The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it pays N120 billion every month to subsidise Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.
Mele Kyari, the NNPC Group General Manager (GMD), disclosed this at the weekly presidential ministerial media briefing on Thursday in Abuja.
Kyari lamented that the burden placed on the NNPC by the ongoing subsidisation of the cost of petrol in the country was overwhelming.
According to the GMD, Nigerians would have to pay the actual cost for petrol sooner or later due to the huge funds being paid.
Kyari further said petrol was currently being sold below the cost of importation, causing the NNPC to pay the difference.
The GMD, however, refused to call the shortfall payment a subsidy. He stressed that the fund was paid to maintain the pump price of petrol at the current level.
He said the cost was becoming overbearing for the NNPC. The remedy, according to Kyari, is that market forces must be allowed to determine the pump price of petrol in the country in the nearest future.
When asked when the corporation would stop subsidising petrol, Kyari declined to give a specific date.
Giving an update on happenings in Nigeria’s petroleum sector, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, disclosed that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be passed by the National Assembly in April 2021.
Sylva expressed optimism that the bill would not suffer a setback.
The petroleum Minister hammered on the need for Nigeria to steer away from oil to gas, adding that the 20-year-old PIB would attract a lot of investments to the gas sector.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sum of $1.5bn for rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refineries. However, mixed reactions trailed the development.
A former Senator, Dino Melaye, in his analysis, criticized the proposed rehabilitation of the refinery.
However, reacting to Melaye’s analysis, Sylva said the former Senator is no expert in refinery and should not express his views in an area he is not conversant with.
Sylva said the Federal Government is committed to its promise to deliver a functional refinery to Nigerians in due time.