By EricJames Ochigbo
Abuja – The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Silva on Thursday assured Nigerians that the Federal Government has no immediate plan to remove fuel subsidy.
The minister made this known while fielding questions from legislators at a joint session of National Assembly Committees overseeing the oil sector.
“This government is not about to remove subsidy because it is difficult; we believe as a government that our people are going through a lot.
“We cannot as a responsible government hip another issue of petroleum price hike or removal of subsidy on Nigerians.
“It is not on the cards at all, we are just looking at how we can manage it,” he said.
Silver said that the official daily consumption rate of petrol in Nigeria does not reflect the actual consumption rate.
He maintained that government does not believe that Nigerians consume over 60 million litres of fuel daily.
According to Silva, there is lot of smuggling and lots of our neighbours are taking advantage of the cheaper price in Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria was subsidising for almost half of Africa which was very difficult to manage.
The minister said that government was working to close up such leakages and when achieved, the cost of subsidy would be bearable.
He said that fixing the refineries would also help to reduce the cost of subsidy and that government was doing lots to get the refineries working again.
On the declaration of Anambra as an oil producing state by President Goodluck Jonathan, the minister said that there were lots of things left undone that would have benefited the state.
Silva said that there was what he called ‘sleeping on your rights’ and that’s should not be seen as a lost opportunity.
He, however, said that the ministry was in the process of amending the Deep Shore Act to address such lacuna and missed opportunities.
The minister said that nobody can deny any oil producing state its benefits as it would be evident when oil is being moved in commercial quantities.
He said that Bauchi state was on its way to becoming an oil producing state following recent discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the state.
Silva said that though Bauchi was not yet to be regarded as oil producing state, it would become on in a few years time. (NAN)