Chinazor Megbolu |
The Federal Government of Nigeria has warned Nigerians to brace up for unending spikes in fuel prices even as they are still smarting from the current jack up in the prices of the commodity.
While explaining the removal of subsidy which has led to the current hike in fuel pump prices, President Mohammed Buhari, said that full deregulation of oil industry will translate to further increase as global oil prices rebound.
“The effect of deregulation 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”.
President Buhari, made this disclosure yesterday while declaring open the First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat for Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Top Government Functionaries, at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
He added that it would be economically dangerous for the country to go back to the era of fuel subsidy because of its dangerous financial cost.
The President, who was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, noted that the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has affected economies worldwide, pushing the government to make some far-reaching adjustments that may cause some initial pains.
He said the move for the removal of petrol subsidy was to end the visible queues always witnessed by the citizenry in fuel retail outlets across Nigeria.
He buttressed further that the action was necessary for long-term gains.
“As you all know, when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown, 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.
“There are several negative consequences if the Government should resume the business of fixing or subsidising PMS prices. First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime.
“Today we have 60 per cent less revenues, 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,” the President said.
He also explained that contrary to the outcry of the masses that his administration was insensitive by hiking fuel price and electricity tariffs at the same time, said both actions were coincidentally taken.
President Buhari maintained that in view of the subsidy removal, fuel price will continue to increase as the cost of crude oil recovers in the international market.
He used the occasion to assure Nigerians that the Federal government would not allow independent marketers to take advantage of the situation by arbitrarily hiking petrol price.
It would be recalled that the federal government has last week increased depot pump price of petrol, which resulted to an increase from N148 per litre to about N162.
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