Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The partial deregulation of the downstream oil sector in May this year and the resultant rise in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, is making the Federal Government to save about N1.4bn on a daily basis.
On May 11, 2016, the Federal Government announced a hike in the pump price of the commodity from N86 per litre to N145.
Speaking at the Second Presidential Economic Communications Workshop in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, stated that the deregulation of the PMS pricing had led to a daily saving of $4.5m (N1.37bn at the official exchange rate of N305.35 to a dollar).
Ahmed, who disclosed this while outlining the critical steps being taken to ensure diversification of the Nigerian economy, said the government was tackling challenges inhibiting private sector participation in the upstream petroleum sector.
She said the government was also building on the petroleum products’ deregulation, which warranted $7.9bn or about 30 per cent of forex demand in 2015, adding that it had ensured the “deregulation of the PMS to reduce the importation of petroleum products, which consumes 30 per cent of forex.”
Ahmed said, “Similarly, the current implementation of the policy has led so far to savings of $4.5m per day and 50 per cent reduction in daily truck-out from the loading depots. Also, the average daily truck-out has reduced from 1,005 prior to the deregulation to 542 for the period after deregulation.
“And there is a boost in agricultural production for food sufficiency, as food imports have the third highest demand for forex, which was $3.4bn in 2015 or about eight per cent of the total demand.”
Ahmed said the government was building on the flexible exchange rate policy by promoting exports of agriculture and agro-allied products, solid minerals, manufactured goods, services such as Nollywood and Nigerian music to increase forex supply and shore up the naira. Punch.ng.com