UCHE Uwaleke, a former Imo state Commissioner of Finance, says the July price band for the pump price of Premium Motor spirit (PMS) also known as petrol was an indication that government is ready to exit subsidy regime.
Uwaleke made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.
NAN recalls that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had on July 1 announced a price band of N140.80 to 143.80k per litre for the pump price of Petrol.
“The PMS pump price band of N140.80 to N143.80 advised by the PPPRA for the month of July from N123.50 in June, in my view, reflects government’s desire to gradually exit the flawed and corruption-riden fuel subsidy regime.
“This is particularly so in view of plummeting government revenue and the pressure on government finances occasioned by COVID-19,’’ he said
He said that the Nigerian economy was fortunate with the OPEC+ production-cut agreement that was yielding positive result and helping oil price recovery.
This, he said translated to higher cost of petroleum products imports.
“So, until we develop the capability to refine enough crude oil for domestic consumption, the pump price of PMS will continue to be exogenously determined. This is the sad reality,’’ he added.
He said that Nigeria could not afford any round of fuel scarcity as government had lifted the ban on inter-state travel as part of measures to restart the economy.
He called for the full deregulation of the downstream oil and gas sector of the economy.
“In due course, especially post COVID- 19, I expect the government to fully deregulate the downstream sector, paving way for private investments and generating a competitive environment that will drive down petroleum products prices ultimately.
“Only then, will the hand of the PPPRA become less visible,’’ he said.
– July 03, 2020 @ 16:25 GMT