THE Federal Government said yesterday that it has no control over the rising price of cooking gas.
This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari expressed concern over the development, especially as gas prices are determined by global market.
He also directed the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, to proceed to Nembe, Bayelsa State, to investigate the level of damage done by the recent oil spillage in the area.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who disclosed this to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said he was at the State House to introduce to the President the CEO, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, Engr. Faruk Ahmed, and the CEO, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe.
He asserted that gas prices are determined by the global market, even though he indicated that government will do everything possible to bring down the price especially during the Yuletide season.
He said, “We must understand that cooking gas is not subsidized. It is already a deregulated commodity. So the price of cooking gas is not determined by the government or by everybody in the industry. In fact, gas prices are determined internationally.
“And you all are aware that in Europe, today, gas prices have gone up. There was even a crisis in Europe relating to gas prices. So the pricing of gas internationally now affects also the price of gas in the country.
“Apart from that, there are some issues around VAT charges on imported gas, and of course, taxes on imported gas, which we are handling. But of course, quite frankly, these taxes on imported gas, you must also juxtapose it side by side with the local producers of gas.
“So, if you incentivize the importance too much, then you will also kill the local industry. And also, you don’t want to incentivize the local industry at the expense of the imports, because if incentivize the local industry at the expense of the imports, then you will not have enough gas produced within the country.
“So, these are the issues of balancing that the midstream and downstream regulatory authority are handling and I want to assure you that we are quite concerned.
“Mr. President also is very concerned. He is aware that the price of gas is high in the market, and we’re doing everything trying to see how we can bring down the price of gas especially as we approached the Yuletide.”
Sylva also disclosed that the president has directed him to proceed to Nembe, Bayelsa State to investigate the level of damage caused by the recent gas spillage in the area.
The minister stated that he will visit the affected communities on Wednesday to assess the situation.