Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said the government is working on a medium-term reduction of the pump price of petroleum products by collaborating with private refineries and reducing importation.
He said there was no going back on the incumbent administration’s commitment to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to make it more efficient.
Osinbajo, who left the country on Wednesday for the United Kingdom to sign the Nigeria-UK solar energy agreement, told Bloomberg in an interview that the government would also encourage private refineries to reduce the importation of petroleum products, adding that the Petroleum Industry Bill would be broken and sent in pieces to ensure its speedy passage.
He said the government was aware of the inefficiencies of the refineries, adding that the government would bring private refineries on board so that most of the petroleum products would be refined locally.
He said, “We are going to be unbundling the NNPC so that its various components are effective core centres and are able to do their business well. We are going to have private refineries at the site of the old refineries, so they can benefit from the available infrastructure.
“So, we think that in the medium term, we would be able to get cheaper pump price, pump price of oil would be cheaper because we would be importing far less refined petroleum. A lot of that will be produced locally.
“Now, we have well over 30 modular refineries licences, so we think a lot of modular refineries would come. Many of them, their major concern is feed stock, are we going to be guaranteed feed stock? We are working on that. Once we are able to deal with that, we feel we would substantially be able to reduce pump price and get the whole business of importation of refined petroleum and the NNPC just getting directly involved in business; we are going to reduce that. The objective is to make the NNPC play more regulatory function.
“They are options that are always there. But we think that there are ways we can raise our own potion of contribution to the Joint Ventures. It will only be a last resort and we have not come anywhere near that.”
Speaking on the PIB, the VP said, “Separating the PIB and breaking it up obviously is the way I would think that we’ll proceed…that’s really what the market has been waiting for.”