The Federal Government says it has been saving a total of $4m (N1.22bn) daily in fuel import bill since May 12, this year when it stopped paying subsidy claims to importers.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, who confirmed the figure, said the liberalisation policy in the oil sector had also led to a 30 per cent reduction in fuel consumption in the country.
He said these in a presentation made to economists at the annual conference of the Nigerian Economic Society.
Between May 12 and October 2, there are 142 days. And when the figure is multiplied by the daily savings of N1.22bn, it amounts to N173.24bn.
In the presentation, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday, the minister said the partial deregulation of the downstream sector had enabled the Federal Government to ascertain the real demand for petrol in the country.
He noted that what the country had before May 12 was an artificial demand for petrol created by abuses of the subsidy regime.
He said, “We have introduced a market-related exchange rate regime and liberalised the downstream petroleum sector by freeing up the price of the PMS (petrol).
“The liberalisation of the PMS helped us to ascertain the real demand for the PMS in the country, as opposed to the artificial demand created by abuses of the subsidy regime.
“The PMS was liberalised on the 12th of May. Immediately this was announced, consumption dropped by 30 per cent. This reduction has resulted in a saving of $4m a day in the PMS import bill.”
The minister lamented that if there had not been disruptions in crude oil production, the economy would have recovered faster than it was currently doing.
Udoma stated, “Indeed, but for the major crude oil production disruptions we have been experiencing this year, we might have already started seeing the economy beginning to pick up a little as our reflationary capital spending would have started to kick in.
“Instead, we are in a recession with insufficient revenue to fully fund the 2016 capital budget.”
He explained that the Federal Government was currently taking measures to raise revenue by addressing the disruptions in the Niger Delta so as to restore oil production.
In a related development, the minister has appealed to international agencies to assist Nigeria’s drive for self-sufficiency by encouraging the local production of items required for the execution of their mandate in the country.
A statement from the ministry quoted him as saying this during a meeting with the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, and members of a delegation from the agency.
He said Nigeria had the human capacity to realise the objective but needed support and patronage to drive the process.
As part of plans to achieve self-sufficiency, the minister said the government was focused on encouraging small and medium-scale industries and promoting made-in-Nigeria goods.
By BusinessNews Staff