Abuja - The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Tuesday said that Nigeria could no longer sustain payment of subsidy to oil marketers.
She said that there was the need to deregulate the downstream oil sector to attract investors.
Alison-Madueke made the observation at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja.
She said that in considering the deregulation of the downstream sector, government must strike a balance in implementing some of its policies to meet the needs of Nigerians.
According to her, subsidies payable to marketers on imported refined petroleum products cannot be sustained.
“Now that reforms in power sector are underway, the next focus should be reforms in the downstream sub-sector.
“The continued regulation of the downstream sector has its positive and negative impact on the economy, but the negative effect is more than the positive.
“The subsidy policy cannot be sustained any longer.
“This is because the subsidy payment did not benefit the poor it was targeting, but rather it is benefiting the rich.
"The industry needs to move to next level by increasing revenue and curb oil theft and pipeline vandalism,’’ she said.
Alison-Madueke said that the nation had been faced with fuel scarcity in the last two months and there seemed to be no end sight in spite of assurances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
She blamed the current fuel scarcity on sabotage, diversion, hoarding, panic buying and rumours of imminent pump price increase.
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