Nigeria insists no alternative to petrol subsidy

There is no option to the full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector in Nigeria, hence the masses will soon pay for the actual cost of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol in the country.

Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the Second Seplat Energy Summit, industry players, including top government officials, were worried about the continuous payment of subsidy and the nation’s energy outlook in the face of the growing push towards sustainable energy.

Theme of the summit is ‘Global Trends in Energy Transition and the Africa Perspective.’

Although full deregulation is contained in the new Petroleum Industry Act, Nigeria has repeatedly made pronouncements on halting subsidy for petrol. Last year, it took action, only to backpedal later.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the national energy system would be affected by changes in climate and energy policy, financing, continuous technological advancement, and shifts in energy supply and demand.

Osinbajo added that Nigeria had developed an energy compact presented at the just-concluded 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in York.

Represented by the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, the VP explained that the energy compact included the provision of five million solar power projects, aimed at electrifying five million homes and creating 250,000 jobs by 2023. 

“Transformation of the energy sector offers ample opportunities for sustained economic development, social inclusion, energy security, improved health, job creation and other societal benefits, if achieved in a just and inclusive manner. However, this would require careful management and broad engagement to balance delicate and diverse interests,” Osinbajo said.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, stated, “The deregulation of downstream petroleum sector is yet another strategy proposed to enable the just energy transition in Nigeria. The government is in the process of fully deregulating the downstream petroleum sector, which will end subsidies and free up funds for national development, including investment in renewables, which will be part of the energy mix that ultimately powers our economy.”

Sylva noted that Nigeria’s oil production was expected to increase to four million barrels per day and oil reserve to 40bbls with commencement of the PIA.

Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote, noted that the world was facing energy crisis, particularly in Europe, which is the largest consumer of fossil fuel in terms of energy.

Wabote added, “What we should talk about is energy remix. When you look at the years in which we transit from coal to oil, it is about 160 years and today Nigeria is very rich in gas. If we want to transit successfully as a country, then we must transit our destination fuel to gas. But this cannot happen if we sit down and continue to have this conversation without taking action. Now if the world moves from oil to renewable, we will also be pushed to focus on renewable and abandon our God-given resources.”

Chairman, Seplat Energy Plc, Dr Ambrose Orjiako, said the organisation was poised to deliver sustainable energy solution to the society.

“There is a global consensus on climate change regarding what has to be done, and that consensus is that something must be done by everyone,” he added.

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