Nigeria announces reduction in gasoline prices

Nigeria announces reduction in gasoline prices

Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:19AM

The Nigerian government has announced a cut in gasoline prices a month before presidential and parliamentary elections in the country, which is considered Africa’s largest oil producer.

The price of a liter of gasoline will fall from 97 naira to 87 naira (47 US cents) at midnight on Sunday, said Nigerian Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who will compete in the February 14 polls, approved the measure, the minister added.

Crude oil exports account for 70 percent of Nigeria’s revenue and some 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings.

The country extracts nearly two million barrels of crude per day but imports most of its fuel because it does not have refining capacity. To keep prices low at gas stations, the government pays subsidies.

Jonathan tried to remove the subsidies in late 2011; however, it caused a general strike and mass protests which forced the government to reintroduce the subsidies to a lesser extent.

The development comes as oil prices have plunged by over 50 percent since June of last year because of oversupply by a number of oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia as well as lackluster global economic growth.

The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery was traded at USD 48.69 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which pumps out about 40 percent of the world’s oil, has so far refrained from cutting its production to balance the market due to opposition from Saudi Arabia.

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