- The federal government says the angry reactions over the increase in the price of fuel and electricity tariff is unnecessary
- Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, September 7
- Alhaji Mohammed stated that the federal government can no longer afford to subsidize petrol prices
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The federal government has addressed the recent issues surrounding the price of fuel and electricity tariff.
Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, September 7 said the angry reactions that have greeted the latest prices of petrol are “unnecessary and totally mischievous.”
He said: “The truth of the matter is that subsidizing fuel is no longer feasible, especially under the prevailing economic conditions in the country.
“The government can no longer afford fuel subsidy, as revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen by almost 60%, due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector. Yet, the government has had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects.
“Even though we have acted to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan, we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down.”
Alhaji Mohammed added that the federal government can no longer afford to subsidize petrol prices, “because of its many negative consequences.”
On the recent increment in electricity tariffs by the government, the minister said: “The truth of the matter is that due to the problems with the largely-privatized electricity industry, the government has been supporting the industry.
“To keep the industry going, the government has so far spent almost N1.7 trillion, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls. The government does not have the resources to continue along this path.
“To borrow just to subsidize generation and distribution, which are both privatized, will be grossly irresponsible.”
He, however, stated that the tariff adjustments had to be made, but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service.
“Under this new arrangement, only customers with a guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply will experience no increase. This is the largest group of customers,” he revealed.
He also informed journalists present that the federal government has undertaken a mass metering programme to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers, and creating thousands of jobs in the process.
He further revealed that the federal government is also taking steps to connect those Nigerians who are not even connected to electricity at all.
Meanwhile, Honourable Tajudeen Yusuf, member representing Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency of Kogi state has berated the federal government for increasing the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.
Yusuf, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Monday, September 7, said with the simultaneous hike in the prices of fuel and electricity, the woes of millions of Nigerians have been further compounded.
Legit.ng had earlier reported that the PDP rejected the fresh increase in the price of fuel to N151 per litre and electricity tariff to N66 per kwh by the Buhari-led administration.
The opposition party in a statement sent to journalists on Wednesday, August 2 by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodiayn, described the decision of the government as “callous, cruel and punishing.”
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