The Federal Government has said the increase in the pump price of petrol is bound to happen and was unavoidable.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva noted that the fuel hike from N148 to N161.56 was a result of deregulation.
The minister said that the government started oil deregulation to save the country from going bankrupt as a result of subsidy payment. Sylva said the rich were benefiting from subsidy payment to the detriment of the poor hence the removal.
He, however, revealed that the government has saved N1trillion from deregulation in six months. Sylva explained that the money saved from deregulation would be used on capital projects across the country next year.
‘’We can’t afford to continue paying subsidy. We decided it was high to deregulate the sector to save huge subsidy payment benefitting only a few Nigerians. The government had stood back from importing petroleum products, we had left that open. Through that we have been able to save N1trillion since we started the deregulation in March’’, he said.
Speaking further, the minister said a number of alternatives were being planned to cushion the effect of price increase on Nigerians.
According to him, the government would next month launch programme to introduce the use of natural gas as an alternative to petrol for vehicles.
The minister said the government would soon issue a directive to all filling stations to upgrade and establish gas selling point for vehicles. He noted that any marketer that fails to upgrade would not have its licence renewed.