MON, SEPT 7 2020-theG&BJournal- ‘’There are several negative consequences if Government should even attempt to go back to the business of fixing or subsidizing PMS prices,’’ President Muhammadu Buhari told Federal Executives members today at First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat.
The President explains his argument: ‘’First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime. Today we have 60% 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. 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 simply have no choice.’’
The President, last week, approved the removal of petrol subsidy in response to what he says is the ‘’mismanagement of taxpayers’ money’’ and also to end the corruption associated with subsidies, power as well as fertilizer.
Garba Shehu, Spokesperson to the President, said Sunday in a statement that the administration took the decisions which had to be taken to put back the country on the path of sustainable development, ‘’and to implement long-delayed reforms, withdraw and allow the market to determine their prices.’’
Since the subsidy removal was approved both electricity and petrol prices have gone up significantly, and theG&BJournal’s investigation showed petrol prices selling for as high as N162 per litre in some parts of the country.
The President said his administration is ‘’extremely mindful of the pains’’ that higher prices mean at this time.
‘’We do not take the sacrifices that all Nigerians have to make for granted. We will continue to seek ways and means of cushioning pains especially for the most vulnerable in our midst.’’
‘’We will also remain alert to our responsibilities to ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens by raising pump price arbitrarily. This is the role that government must now play through the PPRA. This explains why the PPRA 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 be keep coming down.’’