The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, made this known even as he pointed out that Nigeria lost a total N10.413 trillion to subsidy between 2006 and 2019, while between the year 2016 and 2019, the Federal Government lost a total sum of N2.193 trillion on subsidy.
Sylva was speaking at the bipartite meeting between the Federal Government and the Organised labour, held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, in Abuja. The Federal Government was led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige with five other ministers and chief executives of relevant government agencies; while the organized labour was led by the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and the TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye.
In its presentation titled: “Understanding the Impact of fuel Subsidy on the Nigerian Economy… and the Gains of Deregulation,” the Silver pointed out that if the sector was fully deregulated and the dollar exchange rate was fully factored in, the fuel price would not be N161 but N183 per litre.
The minister of state for petroleum said with the present price increase, the price of fuel in Nigeria at N161 per litre is still the cheapest in the sub-region, comparing with Senegal N549 equivalent, Cameroon N449, Benin N359, Ghana N332 and other neighbouring countries.
He said: “Between 2016 and 2019, we were losing an average of N1 billion a day because it was like a leaking basket. We import the thing, and as we bring it to Nigeria, it will leak out through all the borders. Before that, we are even losing as much as N3. 7 billion a day because we would be importing the thing, as you are importing it is not enough because it was leaking out.
“So we now felt instead of this leaking basket that we were trying to manage, why don’t we try to see, so that we can at least make it profitable so that if it is sold at market price in Nigeria, even if it goes out of Nigeria, it is okay, it becomes a business opportunity. At least, the government will not be losing from the process of importing.
“But even when we now raised the price, with deregulation today, in Nigeria our price is still N161 per litre, in Senegal the price of petrol is still N549, in Cameroon, it is N449 per litre. You can see that we are still the cheapest in this sub-region.