The Federal Government (FG) has disclosed plans to sell fuel at a reduced price of N97 per litre. This is because the government is considering encouraging the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative to Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol, for transportation.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva while addressing newsmen in Abuja.
Sylva explained that payment of subsidy on petrol has created holes in the finances of the nation and as such the government needed to encourage Nigerians to start to use CNG. He said if this was used, it would crash the cost of transportation and eliminate the huge burden of subsidy payment.
Sylva also said that CNG costs less than the subsidized price for PMS. While PMS sells for N145 per litre, unit for unit, CNG costs between N95 and N97 per litre. This he said was a major advantage Nigerians should take into consideration.
The minister said, “If you ask me if we are thinking of reducing the pump price of fuel, I could easily say yes; and I am sure all of you would wonder why I said that. Why I could say yes, is that we are thinking of giving the masses an alternative. Today, we are all hooked on PMS, what we want to do going forward, is to see that we are able to move the masses to CNG. This is what I call the GSM treatment.
“What we decided is that we should try and give the masses an alternative. If we move the masses to CNG, that is, take transport vehicles in the first instance, for example, out of the PMS loop, and cause them to use CNG, you would see that it would become the point of contact of the poorest of the population, and even further down, take out a lot of people from the loop of PMS.”
“That is why I said we want to even reduce the cost of fuel. That way, we know we are giving an alternative and Nigerians would use it and would not notice when the subsidy of PMS is removed. That is the alternative we are working on, and we would start very soon to roll out.
“Already, there is a pilot programme in Benin City, which has worked for a long time. About 4,000 vehicles are already on CNG in Benin. We want to expand that CNG programme across the country and we believe it is going to create a lot of opportunities for Nigerians and also give Nigerians a new lease of life because the commodity would be accessible,” Sylva added.