Official prices of gasoline at filling stations selling ’Made in Niger’ fuel were announced yesterday afternoon, though, for weeks, there has been speculation over the price of oil due for release later this month from the refinery at Zinder, 900 km east of Niamey.
“Not only is there speculation, but there is a longstanding parallel trade which forces the closure of several ‘official’ gas stations,” said Father Mauro Armanino, the Society of African Missions (SMA), by telephone in the capital.
Niger’s entrance to the group of oil producing countries, at once, raises hopes and fears.
“For the common people, I do not think that much will change,” said Father Armaninor, adding “we sense that at the political level the arrangements have already been made. This new resource is considered primarily in terms of income. If this income will result in concrete improvements for the neediest, or if it is only an economic game between the government and Chinese investors, it remains to be seen.”
China National Petroleum Company’ (CNPC) holds the contract for the extraction oil from Agadem (center-east), the construction of a pipeline up to Zinder and within in the latter, the construction of the refinery from which, at least on paper, the first first barrel will be produced in a few weeks.