• Says new subsidy policy coming
From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday disclosed how he prevented a militant from blowing up pipelines in the Niger Delta.
Kachikwu, who was one of the ministers who attended the Federal Government’s Town Hall meeting in Kaduna State, lamented the effect of attacks on oil installations.
The town hall meeting is the seond in the series. The first held in Lagos two weeks ago. The minister described the pipeline attacks as a drain on the country’s resources but said the government was on top of the situation.
“Last week, my phone number was published in Sahara Reporters and then I began to get millions of phone calls. One of the first phone calls I took, not knowing who was calling me, was from a militant somewhere, and when I picked up the phone, he asked; ‘Are you the minister of petroleum? and I answered yes.
“He said: ‘I dey go blow pipeline tomorrow’ and I asked why would you do that my brother if you love Nigerians? He asked me; ‘are you sure you are the minister’? and I answered yes. Then he said ‘for being so humble, I will drop the plan.’” Kachickwu also said in the next few days, the federal government would unveil a new policy to address the problem of fuel subsidy in the country and added that introduction of price modulation had helped stabilise the problem. The minister, however, said that it was necessary for the country’s oil sector to reflect global pricing of the product.
“We are coming up with a policy in the next few days that will allow us develop the price modulation that allow us swing our price along with international pricing,” he said.
“We are now transiting into fuel modulating pricing because we do not have sufficient foreign exchange to continue fuel importation we have been doing.
Cheery news, however, came when the minister said Nigeria will export fuel by 2019. He said by 2018, the country would reduce fuel importation by 60 percent in preparation for export in 2019. Kachikwu said plans were in the pipeline by the Federal Government to build additional three refineries, to be situated side by side with existing ones in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt. “If new refineries come on board and run very well, Nigeria will export fuel by 2019,” he said.
His counterpart in the Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed yesterday said soldiers and civilians were subjected to “supreme punishment” in the North East by those who looted billions of dollars budgeted for the purchase of arms and ammunitions to fight Boko Haram during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mohammed said if the $15 billion set aside for arms purchase was used for the purpose it was meant for, few or no soldiers and civilians would have died in the hands of insurgents.
He also said that if money budgeted for provision and expansion of electricity supply and distribution across the country was not looted, Nigerians would not be experiencing darkness in their homes and offices.
He said government is diligently prosecuting those who allegedly looted the commonwealth, adding that with the support of the judiciary, those cases would be expeditiously disposed of.