New Fuel Price Already Causing Pains In Lagos
Since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, their greatest challenge has been how to nip in the bud the wrong practices in the petroleum sector and how to manage the fall of global oil price.
It has also been whether or not to remove fuel subsidy, how to cushion the effects of an eventual subsidy removal, how to manage the stubbornness of the various stakeholders (independent marketers) who are determined to control the petroleum sector.
Finally, the Federal government has decided to take advantage of the current global oil price fall to remove subsidy. The Minister of state for petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachukwu on Wednesday defended the increase of pump price of premium Motor Spirit, PMS, by the federal government from N86:50 to N145, saying that it was the permanent solution to the exorbitant prices of N150 to N250 which Nigerians have been paying at petrol stations in the last couple of months. He however stated that the immediate cause of the present challenge is the ” inability of importers of petroleum products to source foreign exchange at the official rate due to the massive decline of foreign exchange earnings of the federal government. As a result, private marketers have been unable to meet their appropriate 50% portion of total national supply of PMS.”
Briefing the state house correspondents after the meeting which was chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and attended by members of the NLC, TUC, NUPENG, and PENGASSAN, the Minister stated that “ in order to stabilize the supply of the products, any Nigerian entity is now free to import the product, subject to the existing quality specifications and other guidelines issued by Regulatory Agencies.” He also stated that the PPPRA will announce a new price band effective from 11th May, 2016 and the new price will not be above N145 per litre.
This decision has its long term benefits but the immediate burden it has already started to put on Nigerians will be unbearable. It is easy for the federal government to put the price at N145, but what measures are being put on ground to ensure that petroleum marketers and the petrol stations comply with the official price?
This morning in Lagos, the suffering has already started. Bus fare from Epe to Ajah has shut up from N100 to N200. Fare from Ajah to Lekki has now moved from N100 to N150 while that from Lekki to Oshodi has also moved from N200 to N250. People are already complaining, some petrol stations have already hiked their prices and some are even selling above the N145 along the Lekki-Epe axis.
What is the government going to do to check these irregularities?