By John Ofikhenua, Abuja
The Federal Government has revealed plans are underway to provide alternative petrol -Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) – for the common man that will cost between N95 to N97 per litre.
It also promised to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) before May 29, 2020.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated these to reporters in Abuja on Thursday.
Asked whether government was going to reduce the pump prices of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to make it more affordable, the minister said that there were plans to provide an alternative fuel that is cheaper.
He disclosed the fuel CNG has undergone a pilot project in Benin City where over 10,000 vehicles are already running on it.
With CNG, Sylva said that the cost of fuel will reduce to about N95 per litre.
According to him: “What we have decided is that we should try and give the masses an alternative. This will move the masses to CNG.
“That is transport vehicles for example, out of the PMS loop to be using the CNG. CNG cost less that the subsidised PMS. Per liter the subsidized rate of the PMS is N145 per litre. CNG will cost about N95 to N97 per litre.”
Sylva posited that Nigerians will never experience fuel scarcity again.
Asked to comment on the $62b court settlement payment that Nigeria is expecting from the IoC, he explained that the process is such a cumbersome one to analyse because it was a long time that $20 per barrel ceased to be a windfall.
He submitted that from the look of things of the reconciliation of the time it ceased to be for the companies and since it was not a stolen fund stacked somewhere, the federal government and the companies simply have to settle it amicably.
He said that “there is no $62 billion anywhere that any company can pay.”
According to him, the industry has been stagnant for a very long time owing to the non passage of the bill, which the ministry has now planned to lobby the National Assembly to pass in bulk.
He lamented that the Nigerian petroleum industry has not moved forward, noting that at his first appearance in the industry the country was already producing 2million barrel per day and projecting to produce 4million barrel per day by this time.
He recalled that then the United Arab Emirates was producing 2.7million barrel per day.
According to him, the UEA has progressed to 4million per day while OPEC says Nigeria today’s production is 1.774million barrel per day.
Enumerating the benefits that Nigeria will reap from the passage of the legislation, he said that it would create an enabling environment for investors to come into the industry.
With the passage of the bill, the minister said that the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its Joint Ventures will become possible.
He added that with the legislation in place, it would become possible to conduct a major bid rounds, which its proceeds can be channeled into project development.
The minister noted: “Counting on the current harmony between the legislation and executive, we are optimistic that both the Petroleum Industry Administration and the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill on the other hand will be passed within the first anniversary of this administration
“We want to progress the consideration and passage of the overall petroleum and legislation. The team working in the PIB is on the final of the harmonization of the different versions from 2000 to date (2009, 2012 and 2018).”
Sylva earlier dropped the hint of the ministry’s plan to bring the petroleum industry closer to common man in the country. He said that plans are already underway to make the fuel more affordable and accessible by the common man.