President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, urged Nigerians to brace up as the price of fuel might increase further as soon as there is an increase in crude oil prices in world market.
The President who made this known in his statement during the First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat at State House Conference Centre, Abuja, blamed the recent hike on the COVID-19 Pandemic, saying it has affected the economy globally and has forced his government to make adjustments which may cause some pains initially but was an important decision that will bring long term gains.
In his statement at the State House Conference Centre, he said, “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.”
The negative consequences of President Buhari’s decision
President Buhari who was represented by his Vice President, Prof. 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.”