Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the introduction of a new price regime for premium motor spirit (petrol) will create 200,000 jobs and prevent the loss of 400,000 more jobs.LAI

Mohammed also said that the new price regime was to halt the crippling fuel scarcity in the country and to ensure the availability of the product.

The minister, who stated this at the inauguration of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) marketers’ conference in Lagos on Friday, explained that only the liberalisation of petrol supply would ensure the availability of the product.

“It (new petrol price regime) would end the recurrent fuel scarcity by ensuring product availability across the country, reduce hoarding, smuggling and diversion of products substantially, improves fuel supply situation through private sector participation, creates labour market stability, as this will potentially create additional 200,000 jobs through new investments in refineries and retails and prevents potential loss of 400,000 jobs in existing investments,” he said in a statement issued by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide.

The minister said the crash in the price of crude oil, which has impacted negatively on foreign exchange earnings, had further compounded the crisis in fuel supply.

“With the drastic fall in the price of crude oil, which is the nation’s main foreign exchange earner, there has also been a drastic reduction in the amount of foreign exchange available. The unavailability of forex and the inability to open letters of credit have forced marketers to stop product importation and imposed over 90 percent supply on the NNPC since October 2015, in contrast to the past where NNPC supplies 48 percent of the national requirement,” he said.

Mohammed said the renewed insurgency and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region had “drastically reduced national crude oil production to 1.65 million barrels per day, against 2.2 million barrels per day planned in the 2016 budget thereby reducing income to federation account and also affecting crude volumes for PMS conversion”.

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