The Federal Government on Tuesday said the pump price of petrol will remain at N162, until stakeholders, mainly the organised labour, agree to the full deregulation of the downstream sector.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated this at a news conference, following the formal signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sylvia, who recently said town hall meetings will be held in the Niger Delta on the PIB, noted that there is a consensus that the Federal Government should deregulate the sector to make it more viable.
The Minister, who disclosed that President Buhari will speak on the new law on Wednesday, August 18, also pointed out that it is now constitutional for Nigeria to deregulate the oil and gas sector but did not reveal the exact time that it will.
“I cannot give you a timeline now. But it is not going to be too far from now because we have done quite a lot of extensive work”, the Minister said.
The former Bayelsa State Governor equally said as soon as the federal government and the organised labour agree on the process of putting infrastructure in place, Nigeria will deregulate, informing that the oil industry has cut costs by five percent.
He said: “So we will keep it here at N162 within that band for the time being but we are also, at the moment, trying to work out how to allow the deregulation come to fruition.
“We have agreed between labour and us that we need to put a framework in place for the implementation of deregulation.
“More or less there is a consensus across the table now that deregulation is desirable. But how do we achieve it? That is the question now.
“But labour and us have agreed on the process of putting the infrastructure and the process in place and once we are able to agree on that process with labour, then we are ready to deregulate.
“So we will keep it here at N162 within that band for the time being but we are also, at the moment, trying to work out how to allow the deregulation come to fruition.
“Because right now we don’t even have a choice any more. It is a matter of law. But we have to ensure that this happens. We have to ensure that the ordinary Nigeria is well catered for before that law is actually operated”, he stressed.