FG is required by law to set petrol, kerosene price – Falana

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Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer revealed that the Federal Government (FG) is authorized by law to set kerosene and other petroleum prices.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stated in a statement that the government is authorized by Section 4 of the Price Control Act and Section 316 of the Petroleum Industry Act to “determine and fix the prices of petroleum products including petrol, motor spirit, kerosene, and cooking gas.”

He refuted the claim made by Timipre Sylva, Minister of State Petroleum Resources, that the government could not intervene in the rising price of kerosene.

Kerosene is a major cooking energy source for low-income earners and rural dwellers in Africa’s most populous country. The product is more expensive than even gasoline, diesel, and natural gas.

In Lagos State, diesel costs ₦808 per litre, while gas costs ₦202 per litre. Petrol costs ₦169 per litre, but kerosene costs more than ₦900 per litre in the nation’s commercial capital.

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The minister had stated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration lacks the authority to intervene in the rising price of household kerosene.

At a press conference in Abuja to highlight the administration’s achievements in the petroleum industry since taking office in 2015, Sylva stated that the price of kerosene had already been deregulated and could no longer be controlled by the government.

“Kerosene, which is the fuel for the average household, is already a deregulated product. It is not necessarily within the purview of the government but a now a commercial decision.

“Companies will import and sell kerosene at a commercial rate. It is a deregulated product,” the minister said.

Kerosene deregulation

However, Falana accused the Buhari administration of illegally imposing kerosene deregulation on Nigerians.

“With respect, the purported deregulation of the product was illegally pushed out by the Buhari administration,” he stated.

“It is common knowledge that the Federal Government, through the NNPC is the sole importer of fuel into the country, claiming to be subsidising the product. So how can the Federal Government turn around to allow private companies or the so-called market forces to fix the price of the same product?

“In July 2020, Chief Sylva said that an alternative source of fuel, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) would cost between ₦95 to ₦97 per litre, to make fuel more affordable in the country.

“About a year later, it was disclosed by the Minister that as part of efforts to ensure that the autogas conversion of vehicles yielded the desired results, the Federal Government had set aside ₦250 billion for willing investors in autogas assembly plants in the country. The Federal Government should tell Nigerians why the migration from PMS to CNG has been abandoned.”

As Minister of Petroleum Resources, the senior lawyer urged President Buhari to “call Chief Sylva to order for treating the valid and continuing judgments of the Federal High Court and the Supreme Court with contempt.”

“Otherwise, we shall not hesitate to commence contempt proceedings against the public officers in charge of the petroleum industry.”

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