The federal government Tuesday moved to review the prices of domestic gas in the country, in furtherance of its plan to encourage the penetration of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) which is expected to serve as an alternative to petrol.
Government had recently stated that the reason penetration is low is because the initial capital outlay to using gas is high for the ordinary man, noting that it was looking to create micro distribution centres around the country where gas bottles are rented.
It also stressed that because petrol was becoming expensive and prices may increase following the liberalisation of the downstream sector, the country was moving towards creating the CNG which is a cheaper and more efficient fuel as an alternative.
A statement in Abuja by the Special Assistant on Media And Public Affairs to the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Julius Bokoru, said that Chief Timipre Sylva reiterated the plan of the federal government during the inauguration of a committee on Gas Sector-wide Review of the domestic gas pricing framework.
Sylva noted that the committee was charged with the responsibility of evaluating and reviewing the prices of gas in the country in order to align with the current realities.
Speaking at the low-key, partly virtual occasion, Sylva emphasised the need for an appropriate pricing system which he said would be of advantage to the manufacturing industry, for ordinary Nigerians and would boost activities in the gas industry.
He said: ‘’Without appropriate pricing, we can’t have it right. We have to ensure that gas becomes affordable. That is the only way our country can thrive. It is sad to note that we sell gas cheaply to investors while the price is high in the domestic sector to the extent that some Nigerians say diesel is cheaper than gas.
‘’Once we solve the issue of gas in Nigeria, we would have solved a lot of problems in the country. Luckily for us, gas is something we have in abundance’’.
He further stated that the committee was structured to accommodate different people with different opinions, noting that the diversity of experiences would help in arriving at an acceptable outcome.
‘’I think it is for a good reason that this committee is as large as it is. Members of the committee have been chosen bearing in mind the need for diverse opinions, commitment and dedication,” the minister said.
He disclosed that members of the committee are to review domestic gas price and benchmark, make recommendations for appropriate gas price for the respective gas sectors, make evaluations, technical suggestions and has 30 days to submit their recommendations.
Sylva also announced that the flag-off of the AKK Pipeline Construction has been slated for June 30, 2020, which will be carried out by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The multi-billion naira Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano project is a natural gas pipeline programme intended to boost Nigeria’s electricity generation capacity, as well as strengthen the industrial sector within the country’s eastern and northern regions and increase the local usage of domestic gas.
In his remarks during the event, the chairman of the committee, Mr. Yusuf Usman, Chief Operating Officer Gas and Power, expressed delight at the honour while pledging to deliver on the duties assigned the committee.
‘’We will do it with vigour. We recognise this is an enormous task before us. We assure the minister that we will look into it and evaluate the price of gas in comparison with global standards.
“We will discharge our duties with passion and drive to fruition the aims of the committee,” he pledged.