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No plan to remove fuel subsidy – Oil minister

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Sylva, on Thursday assured Nigerians that the Federal Government has no immediate plans to remove fuel subsidy.

The minister made this known while fielding questions from legislators at a joint session of National Assembly Committees overseeing the oil sector.

“This government is not about to remove subsidy because it is difficult. We believe as a government that our people are going through a lot.

“We cannot as a responsible government heap another issue of petroleum price hike or removal of subsidy on Nigerians.

“It is not on the cards at all, we are just looking at how we can manage it,” he said.

Sylva said that the official daily consumption rate of petrol in Nigeria does not reflect the actual consumption rate.

He maintained that government does not believe that Nigerians consume over 60 million litres of fuel daily.

According to Sylva, there is a lot of smuggling and lots of our neighbours are taking advantage of the cheaper price in Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria was subsidising for almost half of Africa which was very difficult to manage.

The minister said that government was working to close up such leakages and when achieved, the cost of subsidy would be bearable.

He said that fixing the refineries would also help to reduce the cost of subsidy and that government was doing lots to get the refineries working again.

On the declaration of Anambra as an oil-producing state by President Goodluck Jonathan, the minister said that there were lots of things left undone that would have benefited the state.

Sylva said that there was what he called ‘sleeping on your rights and that should not be seen as a lost opportunity.