The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva says that efforts to ensure passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the National Assembly are still on course.
Sylva made this known at an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja.
“I want to tell you that PIB is fully on course and we are very happy because we have focused on that for a long time and we had many meetings with the National assembly and stakeholders.
“Today, I believe that we are all basically satisfied with where we are.
“The National Assembly has given a timeline, they actually gave April but a few things, but give or take, I still believe that the passage of the PIB will not go beyond June.
“We are hopeful that between now and June, they will pass the PIB, I don’t think we are faraway with the passage of the PIB,’’ he said.
Commenting on subsidy, he said that the common man is worse hit with subsidy, but usually the one that fights government anytime it is said it would be removed.
He said subsidy had created opportunity for people to transport products to nearby countries to make more profit as the price is high in those places.
“People are ready to take all kinds of risk to transfer products to places like Benin Republic. So when the prices are at par, it might help to reduce some of these risks,’’ he said.
He noted that until Nigeria bridges the price differentials in the pump price of petrol, people would continue to take all risks to smuggle the product.
“The price differential is a major incentive for smuggling that is why until we are able to bridge that gap, people will continue to do that.
“Because, it is very difficult for government to police all the border of Nigeria,’’ he said
He said government had exhibited political will and commitment to announce deregulation for the downstream sector March 2020.
He urged Nigerians to support government’s efforts to ensure full deregulation of the sector for economic growth and development.
“The truth is that the common is not benefiting from the subsidy,’’ he said.