Despite the many challenges in the downstream oil sector, the Nigerian government says it would maintain the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) at N145 per litre.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, stated this in a keynote address at the Rainoil 20th Anniversary Lecture.
The event held in Lagos on Wednesday.
Represented by the Group Executive Director /Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Henry Ikem-Obih, Mr. Kachikwu said the issue of freighting and docking was addressed last month.
"We are also working very hard with the NNPC to reduce some of the charges on products such as the usual five per cent provision on proforma invoices as allowed for ship - to- ship operations," the minister said.
"We are doing all these to help manage and maintain the current price ceiling of N145 per litre in the face of very significant challenges."
Similarly, Mr. Kachikwu explained that the petroleum ministry would continue to work with the Central Bank of Nigeria to make foreign exchange available to marketers for importation of petroleum products.
Noting that the NNPC had recorded commendable performance in service delivery, products supply and distribution, Mr. Kachikwu affirmed that the corporation had done what it is supposed to do as a supplier of last resort.
"But the reality is that the NNPC needs to be run as a business," he added.
"So, we must begin to move the market to a point where private sector operators are more involved. If we achieve that , everybody will compete and have a longer term view of the market from an investment standpoint."
According to the minister , when 50 per cent or more of products are being brought in by marketers, there will be more activity in the sector , jobs will be created and more taxes will be paid to the government.