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The Federal Government has said it has no direct control over the rising prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly called cooking gas, and cannot regulate it at will.

It, however, stated that it was making efforts to reduce the cost of the commodity and make it affordable for Nigerians ahead of the Yuletide.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday after a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

At the meeting, Sylva formally presented the chief executives of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Farouk Ahmed and Gbenga Komolafe, respectively.

Speaking on the reasons for LPG price hike, the minister said, “Cooking gas is not subsidised. It is already a deregulated commodity. So, the price of cooking gas is not determined by the government or by everybody in the industry. Gas prices are determined internationally.

“And you all are aware that in Europe today, gas prices have gone up. There was even crisis in Europe relating to gas prices. The pricing of gas internationally now affects also the price of gas in the country.

“Apart from that, there are some issues around VAT charges on imported gas, and of course, taxes on imported gas, which we are handling. But of course, quite frankly, these taxes on imported gas, you must also juxtapose it with the local producers of gas.”

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Sylva also said the President had directed him and his team to go and examine the oil spillage in Nembe, Bayelsa State.

Speaking on what was behind the reappearance of queues in filling stations across the country, Ahmed said some of depot owners were selling petrol above the official ex-depot price of N148/litre, as they sold the product for as high as N157/litre.

“And the reason they adduced is that they are paying for their logistics such as shipping in dollars, they are also paying for NPA port charges and NIMASA charges in dollars,” he said.

The NMDPRA boss said the government had met with operators in the downstream sector on the matter, adding that efforts were on to settle the concerns.

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