Expect More Fuel Price Increase – President Buhari To Nigerians
On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, asked Nigerians to expect further increase in the price of petrol, saying people would pay more as soon as the price of fuel,crude oil in the international market recovers.
He also justified the latest increase in electricity tariff, which has raised so much dust in the polity.
The President, who stated these at the First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat at State House Conference Centre, Abuja, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected economies globally, has compelled us to make some far-reaching adjustments that may cause some initial pain, but which is necessary for long-term gains.
“As you all know, when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lock-down, we deregulated the price of premium motor spirit, PMS, such that the benefit of lower prices was passed to consumers. “This was welcome by all and sundry.
The effect of regulation though is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means, quite regrettably, that as oil prices recover, we would see some increases in PMS prices.”
Continuing, President Buhari who was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, said: “There are several negative consequences, if government should resume the business of fixing or subsidizing PMS prices. First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime.
“Today we have 60% less revenue, we just cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration.
“Nigerians no longer have to endure long queues just to buy petrol, often at highly-inflated prices.
Also, as I hinted earlier, there is no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, simply because we are not able to afford it, if reasonable provisions must be made for health, education and other social services.
We now have no choice. “Nevertheless, I want to assure our compatriots that government will remain alert to its responsibilities. The role of government now is to prevent marketers from raising prices arbitrarily or exploiting citizens.
“This was why the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, made the announcement a few days ago, setting the range of price that must not be exceeded by marketers.
“The advantage we now have is that anyone can bring in petroleum products and compete with marketers, that way the price of petrol will keep coming down.”
Speaking on the essence of the retreat, the President said: “We are meeting at a time that mankind is struggling to overcome the economic and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted life as we knew it.
The consequences of the pandemic will no doubt influence our deliberations at this gathering, especially as we will have to adjust our policy approaches and methods of working going forward.
“I stressed at last year’s retreat that the Nigerian people expect dedication and commitment by all of us in implementing policies, programmes and projects to improve the quality of their lives and set Nigeria on the path of prosperity.
“I also reiterated the resolve of this administration to set the stage for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years. Even today, these remain our overriding objectives.