18 October 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, says the plan by the Nigerian government to remove subsidies on petroleum products by January 2012 will not affect kerosene until the government has provided an alternative to the product.
“In looking at deregulation, there were two aspects; of course, PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) and kerosene; and without going into the robust discussion about it, I just want to say for the records that we could not in good conscience deregulate kerosene at this time,” Allison-Madueke told a Senate Committee.
“The reason is that we do not have an alternative fuel to readily give the Nigeria masses at this time. Even though it is a totally inefficient system, I mean the subsidy, deregulating the PMS market is one thing, removing subsidy on kerosene at this time is a different issue and we will handle that in a much longer phased manner,” she added.
She said that in the next 30 months, “we will be able to provide Nigerians with an efficient fuel of choice for domestic use, which will be Liquefied Petroleum Gas”.
Though the government has pegged the price of a litre of kerosene, which is used for cooking and lighting in most Nigerian homes, at 50 naira (33 cents), the product is so scarce that consumers sometimes pay as high as 300 naira (US$2) per litre for it.
Nigeria has announced plans to embark on a phased removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012, but the plan has met with a nation-wide rejection, led by the umbrella workers’ union, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).