By Ayomide Oriade

Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke speaks at a media briefing on a new gas price regime in the capital of Abuja

There have been rumours that the current fuel scarcity might be a secrete plot to enforce total deregulation of the petroleum sector on Nigerians and this rumour could actually be true as the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Tuesday said the federal government can no longer sustain the payment of subsidy on petrol.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke while speaking at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja said:  “The continued regulation of the downstream sector has its positive and negative impact on the economy, but the negative effect is more than the positive. The subsidy policy cannot be sustained any longer. This is because the subsidy payment did not benefit the poor it was targeting, but rather it is benefiting the rich.”

She added that there was the need to deregulate the downstream oil sector to attract investors, advising that in considering the deregulation of the downstream sector, government must strike a balance in implementing some of its policies to meet the needs of Nigerians.

“Now that reforms in power sector are underway, the next focus should be reforms in the downstream sub-sector. The industry needs to move to next level by increasing revenue and curb oil theft and pipeline vandalism,” she said.

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