The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), an arm of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that should subsidy on petroleum be totally removed, a litre of the product would sell at not less than N1,000.
This is from the current rate of about N168 for a litre of petrol, also contrasting with about N85 per litres in 2015 when this government came to power.
This is however in wide contrast with the position of the NNPC group Mnanaging Director, Malam Mele Kyari in June who stated that the product would sell for about N256 per litre without subsidy.
Sarki Auwalu, DPR director, while answering questions after delivering a paper titled, ‘A Discussion on the Future of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry,’ in Lagos, recently, acknowledged that Nigeria was spending so much on petrol subsidy.
He said eliminating it would require making alternative fuel available to Nigerians and that failure to do that will plunge Nigerians into paying higher petrol prices when subsidy is removed.
Auwalu added that Nigerians may be paying as high as N1,000/litre on petrol when subsidy is removed and when alternative energy or autogas gas policy becomes fully operational.
According to him, the alternative fuel regime comes with initial cost as it will lead to spending $400 to convert one vehicle from running on petrol or diesel to running on either liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG).
He explained that converting eight million public vehicles currently present in Nigeria to gas-powered will cumulatively cost $3.2 billion to achieve.
He said: “So, to eliminate subsidy, they don’t call it subsidy anymore now, it’s under-recovery of purchase. So, to eliminate under-recovery, what you need is alternative fuel. Without an alternative, you will subject people to higher prices, and that is why we go for price freedom.”
“As at today, there are 22 million cars in Nigeria. Eight million are for public use. Imagine if you want to convert every car into gas, the average cost of conversion is $400. Converting eight million cars requires $3.2 billion. To do that, there are a lot of environmental investors which can invest and recover from the sale of gas and we are encouraging that.
“Once that is achieved, you will see that PMS can be sold at N1000. After all, the average distance covered by one-gallon equivalent when you compare it with LNG or CNG with respect to energy for mobility, is 2.7 against one. One for PMS, 2.7 for LNG or CNG.
“So, with that advantage, you will see that it creates an opportunity for this industry again. The issue of subsidy, volume will all vanish, and that is what we are working towards.”