Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), caucus in the House of Representatives, on Sunday, charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order a reversal of the hike in the pump price of fuel and electricity tariff.
The caucus leader, Kingsley Chinda, in a statement, stated that the demand was part of resolutions reached by the opposition lawmakers at their 18th virtual meeting, at the weekend.
Chinda noted that the PDP caucus, during their meeting, reviewed the state of the nation, including the recent hike in pump price of fuel, electricity tariff, as well as stamp duty and telecommunication charges and implementation of 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT).
The lawmaker noted that with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused hardship globally, many responsive governments across the world have devised measures to reduce the tax burdens on their citizens.
He noted that, unfortunately, the federal government ” has found this inauspicious time to implement what can only be described as strangle-hold economic policies on the lives of perceived helpless Nigerian citizens. More disturbing is the fact that the review in electricity tariffs and fuel prices is not commensurate with an increase in salary or income of the people”
Chinda added that the recent hike in pump price of fuel will be the third since the inception of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led administration in 2015.
” From an inherited pump price of N85 per litre, they have systematically increased it to an exorbitant, strangulating cost of N162 per litre. All these have been achieved without consultation or engagement with the Nigerian people, at whose pleasure he serves.
“Recall that in 2015 when this government took over the mantle of leadership, cost of crude was 93.17 to 48.66 USD; pump price of fuel in Nigeria was N85 per litre and about N500 Billion was said to be paid as subsidy annually”
” In 2020, crude sells for 39.68USD the pump price of fuel is N162. Ordinarily, lower cost of crude should entail lower cost of fuel; At every increase, Nigerians are told that subsidy payment has been removed and that price of fuel will be determined by market forces.”
“Paradoxically, in 2020 the government budgeted 450B for subsidy, whilst PPRA gave a realistic estimate of 750.81B to be spent by NNPC as subsidy in 2020, higher than N500 Billion even with almost 95% increase in pump price,” the lawmaker stated.