Bimbola Oyesola, Uche Usim, Adewale Sanyaolu and Merit Ibe
Nigerians yesterday slammed the Federal Government over its decision to increase the pump price of feul to N152 per litre after a similar action just last month.
Their reactions came as the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday unveiled the new price of petrol now raised to N151.56k per litre.
A PPMC official, D. O Abalaka, in a statement said: “Please be informed that a new product price adjustment has been effected on our payment platform.
“To this end, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is now one hundred and fifty-one naira, fifty-six kobo (N151.56k) per litre.
“This takes effect from September 2, 2020.”
As at the time of filing this report, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA ) was yet to release the products price band for September, just as it failed to release August template.
The latest hike is coming after the August 4 increase that adjusted pumps from N143.80k to between N149 and N150 a litre.
But while reacting to thelatest fuel hike, Nigeria’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected the fresh hike in fuel and electricity tariffs to N151 .56 per litre and electricity tariff to N66 per kwh respectively by the Federal Government. The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.
The opposition party stated that the price hike, if not reversed, will result to to increase in the prices of goods and services, which will worsen the hardship already been faced by the citizens.
“Our party asserts that by increasing the price of fuel from the N87 per litre it sold under the PDP to an excruciating N151 while at the same time allowing the hike in electricity tariff from N30.23 per kwh to over N66, the APC has left no one in doubt that its agenda is to inflict pain and hardship on Nigerians to satisfy their selfish interests.
But in its response, the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the N151 fuel price and electricity tariff increase, were a reflection of the desires of Nigerians, and called on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to cajole its cronies to return funds allegedly stolen from petrol subsidy.
APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in a statement said the opposition party lacked the locus standi to voice out especially now that President Mohammadu Buhari was repositioning the country’s economy.
Nabena said: “The attention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to a shameless statement by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the current petrol price and electricity tarif in the country.
“For successive PDP governments that foisted on the country a corruption-tainted fuel subsidy regime, we call on the PDP to surprise itself and indeed Nigerians by cajoling its cronies who ran the subsidy rackets — many of them in hiding abroad — to return our stolen commonwealth in their possession.
“The pricing template now reflects competitive and market driven components which is supported by the citizenry.
“In an effort by this administration to put an end to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity, President Buhari recently directed a nationwide mass metering programme for electricity consumers in the country.
“Perhaps the PDP is also unaware, that the current administration has approved a one-year waiver of import levy on electricity meters, so that Nigerians who do not have meters can be supplied as early as possible at a reasonable cost.
“The APC calls on the PDP to wake up to the new Nigeria were the government works for the citizens not a few interest.”
For its part Nigeria’s Orgainsed Labour said the frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted – stressing it was one increase too many. It regretted that over the past four months the price of PMS has been adjusted four times.
Consequently, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the latest increase to N151, effective from September 2, will no longer be accepted.
The Deputy President of NLC, Amechi Asugwuni told Daily Sun in an interview that the NLC who will be having its organ meeting in Abuja today to study the template and would revert accordingly. “We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home,” he said.
For the Vice President of IndustriAll Global, Issa Aremu, the latest increase is one increase too many. Aremu said the incessant increase has only confirmed that deregulation means just price increase!
“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic we should put money on the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives!,” he said.
For its part, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), said it has always urged the Federal Government to adopt of deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.
Its Director General, Timothy Olawale, said such a policy initiative will allow market dynamics to dictate demand and supply of petroleum products in the economy.
Also reacting, the Executive Secretary of the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria(MOMAN), Mr. Tunji Oyebanji, said the monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. He urged the PPRA to adopt a quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility.
In his reaction, the National President of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Dr.Billy Gillis-Harry, said the monthly adjustments in price of fuel was unacceptable to Nigerians and retailers as it does not have room for planning.
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has directed its members in the Southwest to begin sales of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at N162 per litre. The southwest Zonal Chairman of IPMAN, Alhaji ‘Dele Tajudeen in a telephone chat with journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, said his members would be left with no other option than to dispense the product at a price of N162.
The Director General of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, has opened up on the position of the chamber on the Federal Government’s decision to increase the price of petrol through the product price adjustment by the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC); to commence the implementation of Cost Reflective Tariffs for pricing the cost of electricity; as well as, numerous policies implemented across the Federal and State levels of government to bolster revenues, saying these will serve only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.