FG can’t intervene in high diesel price due to deregulation – Sylva

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva has said that despite the high cost of diesel and aviation fuel, it would be difficult for the government to intervene as the products are deregulated.

Sylva said this on the sidelines of the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) while fielding questions from journalists Tuesday in Abuja.

The price of diesel per litre has climbed above N850 with industry stakeholders saying the price might climb to N1,500 before the end of the year.

According to the National President of the Natural Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) Bennet Korie with diesel selling at N850 per litres, more businesses may just close shop.

Nigeria has been experiencing scarcity of petroleum products since February, and the situation has defied various measures so far taken to address it.

And the situation has further been aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine war with its attendant sanctions on Russia which is a major supplier of gas globally.

Sylva said: “The problem with aviation fuel is that it is a deregulated commodity. So it is not within the purview of the government to fix the prices at all.”

He also said that foreign exchange scarcity is fueling the situation.

“And of course, the actual issue is also the paucity of foreign exchange; people cannot access foreign exchange to import the product. For the time being NNPC has been the main importer of this product, but what we’re trying to do is to democratize the import so that the exporters themselves should be able to access foreign exchange on the I&E window to be able to import this product. It is not a supply issue at all.

“You know that the problem in Ukraine and Russia has actually exacerbated the rise in their prices, as it is not in Nigeria. The high cost of diesel is also because of the same reason. And these are not subsidised commodities. They are deregulated commodities so actually it is not within the purview of the government to intervene in the price,” he further explained.

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