Nigeria has been urged by one of its West African counterparts, Ghana, to bring the importation of dirty fuels to an end and deregulate the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
The Deputy Minister of Energy, Ghana, Dr. Mohammed Adam, said in Lagos at the 11th Oil Trading and Logistics Expo that the most topical issue being discussed at all levels on the African downstream petroleum industry was the transition to low sulphur fuel.
Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire agreed on December 1, 2016 to ban the importation of Europe’s dirty fuels, limiting sulphur in fuels from 3,000 parts per million to 50ppm.
The Federal Government later said the enforcement of the ban in Nigeria would begin from July 1, 2017. But it has yet to come into effect almost four months after.
“This drive to move from ‘dirty fuels’ to ‘cleaner fuels’ has resulted in most countries opting to tighten the specifications for gasoline (petrol) and gasoil (diesel),” Adam said.
He said the clarion call for African countries to move to cleaner fuels presented an opportunity for investment in domestic refineries to meet national specifications, allowing the downstream to be supportive of the development goals of African economies.
Adam said, “Nigeria, for example, has deregulated the pricing of gasoil (diesel) while steps are far advanced for gasoline prices to be deregulated. Ghana has, largely, fully deregulated the industry with the exception of residual fuel oil and premix fuel, which are still being regulated by government. Elsewhere, Kenya and South Africa have deregulated their pricing regimes which have catapulted the industry to that of a market-driven one.
“I wish to call on the Nigerian government to make efforts at reaching full price deregulation given that it is the largest market for products; and any failure on its part can distort the sub-regional market we all envisage.”