The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday said the Federal Government would in the next few days unveil a new policy to address the problem of fuel subsidy in the country.
Kachikwu who stated this during a town hall meeting in Kaduna, said the introduction of price modulation had helped to stabilise the problem.
The minister, however, said it was necessary for the country’s oil sector to reflect global pricing of the product.
He said: “We are coming up with a policy in the next few days that will allow us develop the price modulation that allow us swing our price along with international pricing.
“We are now transiting into fuel modulating pricing because we do not have sufficient foreign exchange to continue fuel importation we have been doing.
“Therefore, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has to produce about 100 per cent of the product, that is the cause of the scarcity.”
Kachikwu said the NNPC did not also have the logistics and coverage for effective distribution of the product.
The minister said there was no budgetary allocation for fuel subsidy in the 2016 budget.
He said: “The Federal Government has struggled to offset about N600 billion subsidy balance when the administration came into power.”
On the uncompleted Petroleum Institute in Kaduna, the minister said the ministry had created a Skill Learning Department to coordinate staff training and the running of its specialised centres in Warri, Lagos and Kaduna.
Kachikwu said the department would provide research and training skills needed for effective refining and other services in the oil sector.
He said the Kaduna Institute was programmed to provide skills to HND graduates in refining and solar energy to prepare them for hiring in the oil industry.
On oil exploration in Northern Nigeria, the minister said the government had invited investors to explore for oil in the region.
He said: “I am one of those who believe that with modern technology, oil and gas exist in every part of Nigeria.”
According to Kachikwu, research conducted in the last six months revealed that there is both oil and gas in the North.
He said: “We are putting a lot of investment and we are inviting people to invest money.
“We have set up a department, which is doing three things for the North.
“First, we are going bullishly and trying to find oil and it is in our own interest, especially given the problems we find with pipelines.
“We are focusing on clean energy, Solar.
“We should be able to provide sufficient solar energy in the Northern part of this country.
“We are putting a concept of partnership in oil.
“Every system has a relationship with oil in different perspectives.
“The programme is building 700 marketing outlets all over the country with one per local government.
“We are asking the state government to co-venture with us and give land to do this.”
The Town Hall meeting was convened by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed.
Five other ministers in charge of Solid Minerals, Communications, Interior, Budget and Planning and that of petroleum resources answered questions from the public during the event.