The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it pays between N100 billion and N120 billion every month to subsidise Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.
NNPC Group General Manager (GMD), Mele Kyari, disclosed this at the weekly presidential ministerial media briefing on Thursday at the State House in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He said that the product was currently being sold below the cost of importation, causing the NNPC to pay the difference.
Kyari lamented that the burden placed upon NNPC by the ongoing subsidisation of the cost of petrol in the country was overwhelming.
As a result of the huge sum being paid, he stated that Nigerians would have to pay the actual cost for petrol sooner or later.
The NNPC boss, however, refrained from calling the shortfall payment a subsidy, stressing that the fund was paid to maintain the pump price of petrol at the current level.
He argued that the NNPC can no longer bear the monumental cost, saying 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.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, also gave an update on happenings in the nation’s petroleum sector.
He disclosed that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly would be passed by April 2021.
Sylva told reporters that the bill would not suffer setback, going by all indications from the leadership of the National Assembly.
He stressed the importance 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.
On the issue of having functional refineries in the country, Sylva faulted Senator Dino Melaye’s analysis of the proposed rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery.
According to him, Melaye is no expert on refinery and should, therefore, not impress his views on an area he is not conversant with.
The minister said the Federal Government remained committed to its promise to deliver a functional refinery to Nigerians in due time.