By John Ikani
The Federal Government of Nigeria on Tuesday said it has no control over the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) used for domestic purposes, including cooking, because the product is fully deregulated in the country.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated this in a chat with State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The Minister was at the Presidential Villa to introduce to the President the CEO, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
Sylva who noted that Buhari expressed concern over the recent spike in prices of LPG, explained that the high price of the commodity had been as a result of the fact that it is determined by the global market. He noted that the Federal Government is not be able to control the sales prices because it is not subsidised.
What the minister said:
“We must understand that cooking gas is not subsidized. It is already a deregulated commodity. So the price of cooking gas is not determined by the government or by everybody in the industry. In fact, gas prices are determined internationally.
“And you all are aware that in Europe, today, gas prices have gone up. There was even a crisis in Europe relating to gas prices. So 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 side by side with the local producers of gas.
“So, if you incentivize the importance too much, then you will also kill the local industry. And also, you don’t want to incentivize the local industry at the expense of the imports, because if incentivize the local industry at the expense of the imports, then you will not have enough gas produced within the country.
“So, these are the issues of balancing that the midstream and downstream regulatory authority are handling and I want to assure you that we are quite concerned.
“Mr. President also is very concerned. He is aware that the price of gas is high in the market, and we’re doing everything trying to see how we can bring down the price of gas especially as we approached the Yuletide.”