Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said it is now constitutional to deregulate the oil and gas sector of the economy, with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in place.
Sylvia, who declined to speak on the kick-off date, said the pump price of petrol would remain N162 per litre until government and labour conclude ongoing talks.
“I cannot give you a timeline now. But it is not going to be too far from now because we have done quite a lot of extensive work.
“As soon as the government and the organised Labour agree on the process of putting infrastructure in place, Nigeria will deregulate.
“So, we will keep it here at N162 within that band now for the time being but we are also in the time at the moment trying to work out to allow the deregulation to come to fruition.
“We have agreed between Labour and us that we need to put a framework in place for the implementation of deregulation.
“More or less, there is a consensus across the table now that deregulation is desirable. But how do we achieve it? That is the question now,” Sylvia said.
The minister said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is leading the process, hinting that a lot of job has been done on the deregulation process.
He said the government is looking at another option of giving gas as an alternative fuel. “The President has launched the autogas programme in December last year. That is also ongoing and we will put everything together,” he said.