Importing fuel from Niger Republic is no embarrassment – Sylva

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*Sylva

Says fuel subsidy not completely gone

The minister of state for petroleum resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva has said that the federal government’s plan to resume fuel importation from Niger Republic is nothing to be ashamed of.

Speaking yesterday on Channels’ Politics Today, the minister said Nigeria is a big market and it needs excess petroleum products processed in other countries even if the country’s refineries were all working.

“I don’t see that as an embarrassment at all. As a country, Nigeria is a big market, we need products, even if all our refineries were functioning, we will still need extra products.

“Niger Republic produces oil and they are landlocked as a country. They have a refinery that produces in excess of what they require as a country and they offered to sell to us in Nigeria because this is a bigger market.

“In the spirit of regional cooperation, regional trade development, we decided to buy from them. I don’t see anything wrong with that. If your neighbour is producing something that is required in your country and you buy from him, why is that a big problem?

“So, we agreed with Niger to buy the excess of what they don’t require in Niger because this is a big market.”

“Nigerians should be proud that we are doing that to encourage sub-regional trade because we have been talking about sub-regional trade for a long time and this is how it should be between neighbouring countries.

Niger should import from us what we have and we should be able to import from Niger what they have. Let us encourage intra-regional trade and this is one good example of trading within West Africa,” he said.

The minister also revealed that fuel subsidy had not been completely removed.

He said the government had been unable to get 100 per cent removal of subsidy from the foreign exchange end.

“If we were to take it out completely and allow people to access foreign exchange from the parallel market and allow people to import the product, the price of the pump will even be more.

“The federal government, knowing the impact it will have on the people, decided that they are still going to manage this situation,” he said.

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