The Federal Government has said it cannot regulate the price of cooking gas, otherwise called Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), because it has no direct control over it.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said that notwithstanding, the Federal Government is making efforts to reduce the cost and make it reasonably priced for Nigerians ahead of the December festive season.
Sylva spoke with journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Tuesday where he presented the Chief Executives of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Farouk Ahmed and Gbenga Komolafe, respectively.
The Minister said cooking gas is not subsidized. It is already a deregulated commodity and the price is not determined by the government or by people in the industry but internationally.
“And you all are aware that in Europe today, gas prices have gone up. There was even crisis in Europe relating to gas prices. The pricing of gas internationally now affects also the price of gas in the country.
“Apart from that, there are some issues around VAT charges on imported gas, and of course, taxes on imported gas, which we are handling. But of course, quite frankly, these taxes on imported gas, you must also juxtapose it with the local producers of gas.”
Sylva also said the President had directed him and his team to go and examine the oil spillage in Nembe, Bayelsa State.
Speaking on what was behind the re-emergence of queues in filling stations across the country, Farouk Ahmed said some of depot owners were selling petrol above the official ex-depot price of N148/litre, as they sold the product for as high as N157/litre.
“And the reason they adduced is that they are paying for their logistics such as shipping in dollars, they are also paying for NPA port charges and NIMASA charges in dollars,” he said.
The NMDPRA boss said the government had met with operators in the downstream sector on the matter, adding that efforts were on to settle the concerns.