The Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Bright Okogu, said in Abuja on Tuesday that continued payment by the Federal Government for subsidy on petroleum products was no longer sustainable.
Mr. Okogu made the statement at a stakeholders' forum at the on-going Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) conference .
He said the Federal Government and all stakeholders needed to re-address the issue of subsidy provision in the downstream sub-sector.
"We need to re-address the issue of subsidy provision. The volume of money we are losing to subsidy payment is enormous.
"The people benefiting from the subsidy provision are not the common man on the street," Mr. Okogu said.
He said if subsidy was not removed and the entire downstream sector deregulated, the much needed investment in the sub-sector would continue to elude the country.
"Licences for building of new refineries have been issued to prospective private investors who want to bring in their investment but they cannot commence building of new refineries under regulated policy.
"Regulation does not promote competition and hence the time to remove it is now.
"If you are in my shoes as director of budget, you would understand why we cannot continue to pay subsidy," Mr. Okogu said.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, in his presentation, said Nigerian geologists had discovered shale gas deposits in large quantity in Nigeria.
He said Nigeria could not afford to be left out in the exploitation of shale gas at the global level.