The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said he will not feel bad as a private citizen to buy petrol at N300 per litre.
Timipre Sylva Claims Fuel Price Is Not High In Nigeria
He spoke in Abuja on Monday while responding to questions from journalists during the 16th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard (2015 – 2023).
The minister was asked whether he would be comfortable buying at N300 per litre if he becomes a private citizen just like most Nigerians who are presently bearing the high cost.
The product is already selling in parts of Nigeria at prices ranging from N179 to over N400 per litre depending on the location.
Sylva claimed the price is okay to because the cost of petrol in Nigeria is still low compared to what obtains in other countries of the world.
He said: “If you ask me how I will feel as a private citizen to buy petroleum products at N300 per litre, frankly, if you as me, I will say I won’t feel bad knowing the actual situation.
“And if you compare Nigeria to other countries and you would also understand and you also convert N300 that you are talking about to other currencies, then, you would probably understand.
“You know a lot of you travel to the United Kingdom, a lot of you travel to the US. How much do you buy petroleum products? Even in Saudi Arabia and in Arab communities that produce crude oil. Convert it to what we are buy in Nigeria in terms of Naira, you will find out that we are not really doing too badly.
“But unfortunately, we are still in a subsidized regime which all of us know and we have come to a national consensus now that this subsidy is not sustainable. But we will get there. Together, we will get there.
“Because many times, you’re the first people to ask how we are able to sustain this, and then, when we want to take out the subsidy, the same people will protest.
“Sometime, we don’t understand what the average person wants. But what is desirable as far as we are concerned is to ensure that petroleum price is market-driven. That way, it will also drive a lot of investments.
“A lot of people who will like to invest, private sector investment who like to invest in this sector but under a subsidized regime, who is going to invest?
“If you build a refinery, how is your refinery going to make profit under a subsidy regime? But if you have a market-driven situation, you will see that a lot of investors will come and of course, there will be a lot of refineries and this problem of access to petroleum products will be a thing of the past.”
Sylva also said that it is not realistic to expect the price of petrol per litre to fall to N40 as had been promised by the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that it can only happen if the exchange rate of the dollar to naira is one to one.
When asked if the price could revert to N40, he argued: “I’ll answer yes. Why do I say yes? But this is dependent on if we are able to achieve within this period an improvement in the exchange rate.
“If we can achieve a $1 to N1 exchange rate, I believe we also be able to improve on the pricing. You know, somehow these things are dependent on other factors. The exchange rate is also a factor that you have to look at. That’s just on a lighter note.
“But frankly speaking, I will like to use this opportunity to commend the agencies under the ministry for their hard work. The management of the supply to the nation under this subsidy regime is not easy.
“We must all agree that so much money is being pumped into our cars. But somehow, we have to scoop funds to continue to keep the country wet.
“Sometimes, if you begin to think deeply you wonder what magic they 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’re expected to go back to buy the same thing and come back and sell it at a loss.
“So, at every point in time, you are looking for more money. You continue to buy it because you are mandated to sell it at a loss.
“So, if you’re a businessman, just look at it from that perspective, that you’re now in business where you’re mandated to sell at a loss to the population. So, that’s not an easy thing, I must tell you.
“So, at this point, I must say that it’s impossible for us to achieve an N40 per litre. That’s not something that’s realistic.”
KanyiDaily recalls that Timipre Sylva had called on Nigerians to hold him accountable for the $1.5 billion that would be spent on the Port Harcourt refinery.