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Nigeria’s fuel subsidy unsustainable, NNPC boss

Kachikwu, NNPC GMD

Kachikwu, NNPC GMD

The new head of Nigeria’s state oil company said on Thursday the country’s fuel subsidy was an unstainable drain on the economy, calling for deregulation of the oil and gas sector.

“Subsidy creates distortions in government revenue distribution,” Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) managing director Emmanuel Kachikwu said in a speech in Lagos, the country’s financial hub.

Nigeria produces some two million barrels of crude a day but despite its huge reserves, the country imports much of its fuel due to a lack of refining capability — a situation blamed on corruption and mismanagement.

To make fuel affordable, Nigeria has frozen the price of a litre of petrol at 87 naira ($0.44, 0.39 euros), lower than the market rate. Fuel importers expect subsidy payments from the government to make up the difference.

When the government does not pay, fuel runs scarce, frequently causing gridlock and panic, and the subsidy programme has been found to be rife with corruption, including false claims and overpayments.

“Subsidy accounted for 20 percent of the federal government budget in 2013,” said Kachikwu, appointed earlier this month by President Muhammadu Buhari to spearhead reforms in the corruption-hit oil sector.

The government ended fuel subsidies in 2012 but was forced to partially reinstate them when petrol prices more than doubled, causing violent mass protests that left more than a dozen dead.

Nigeria spent more than five trillion naira ($25 billion/22.5 billion euros) on fuel subsidies between 2006 and 2012, Kachikwu said in the speech read out in his absence to a conference of energy correspondents.

The Harvard-trained lawyer called for “speedy implementation” of deregulation in the sector which he said would encourage investment.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, with 37.4 billion barrels of crude in its reserves.

Crude accounts for more than 90 percent of Nigeria’s export earnings and about 80 percent of federal government revenue, Kachikwu said.



1 Comment
  • Olami

    All these from kachiku is story and we are tired of govt telling us telling us story. Pls before you removes subsidies make sure you dont import fuel from abroad. In as long as we can produce the needed fuel in country by refining the products in nigeria, you can then remove subsidies. Allow private sectors to participate in refining fuel and govt should create enabling enviroment for private investor s to to thrive by removing bereuacracy and corruptions which killing nigeria as a nation.

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